Belize City, Tuesday, 5 October 2021 (CRFM)—The Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) held its Eleventh Special Meeting on Monday, 4 October 2021, and approved three resolutions which together chart a strategic and robust direction for the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The vision, which looks ahead to the year 2030, is for the effective management, conservation and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources, to maximize social and economic benefits, such as food and nutrition security, and jobs in the CRFM Member States.
During the Eleventh Special Meeting, the Ministerial Council approved, by way of resolution, the Third CRFM Strategic Plan, 2022 – 2030. The Council directed the Caribbean Fisheries Forum (comprised of the Chief Fisheries Officers and Heads of Fisheries Departments in the 17 Member States), as well as the CRFM Secretariat and other partners to take appropriate action to develop and implement the programmes, plans and projects considered necessary to achieve the goals and objectives articulated in the Third CRFM Strategic Plan. The CRFM will collaborate closely with other stakeholders, regional and international development partners, and donors in implementing the CRFM Strategic Plan, which was prepared using a shorter, simpler, visually appealing, and illustrative format which is more user-friendly and suitable for wider dissemination to stakeholders and development partners.
Furthermore, the Ministers underscored the need for the CRFM and its Member States to significantly enhance the mobilization of financial and technical resources to support accelerated blue economic growth, particularly in respect of the living marine resources and sustainable aquaculture in the CARICOM Region. In this regard, the Ministerial Council also approved the CRFM Resource Mobilization Strategy, to also span 2022 to 2030.
The Ministers stressed the importance of giving high priority to mobilizing the financial and other resources required to implement the approved regional and national policies, and the Strategic Plan for the period 2022 to 2030, to improve food security, livelihoods, and economic and social resilience—especially considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change on the food systems and economies of Member States.
The Council agreed that both the CRFM Strategic Plan and the Resource Mobilization Strategy should be reviewed and updated regularly over the 9-year period, to ensure that they remain relevant and responsive to the changing needs and realities in the Member States.
Finally, the Ministers approved a White Paper to guide the further development and approval of the Model Fisheries Legislation for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for the CARICOM Region. The White Paper sets out the Council’s proposals and policy position concerning the CARICOM Model SPS Fisheries legislation.
The legislation is comprised of the Draft Model Aquatic Animal Health Bill and the Draft Model Aquatic Food Safety Regulations, which are being developed with funding from the European Union. They are aimed at assuring safety and quality of fish and seafood available for domestic as well as export markets, in line with international standards, while improving the income of fishers and maximizing economic gains for the sector.
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Belize City, Thursday, 18 May 2017 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will host the 11th Meeting of its Ministerial Council—the highest ranking decision-making body of the regional fisheries organization—starting at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, May 19, at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana.
Ministers who hold the portfolio for fisheries from the 17 Member States of the CRFM, or their appointed delegates, are slated to attend the event, at which Guyana is expected to be elected as the new chair of the Council.
Fisheries ministers from across the Caribbean will review ongoing programmes and the status of and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. They will also discuss further actions needed to tackle the pressing challenges facing the sector.
“The 11th Meeting of the Council is taking place against the backdrop of the High Level UN Oceans Forum that will take place in New York from 5-9 June 2017, to review progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development,” noted CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton.
Haughton said that, “The living marine resources provide employment, income, food and livelihoods, and they are an important component of the tourism product in the region. For these reasons, CRFM Member States have accorded high priority to ensuring proper management and sustainable use of these resources, to provide tangible sustainable benefits to the people of the region.”
The Council also aims to improve the trade and economic performance of the sector while addressing climate change and associated threats.
The Ministerial Council will receive and consider the report and recommendations of the 15th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the CRFM’s technical advisory body, which was held in Jamaica in March 2017 in preparation for this meeting of the Council.
With the 2017 hurricane season approaching in just a few weeks, the ministers will discuss the Caribbean Risk Insurance Facility for Fishers. The Caribbean Fisheries Forum has endorsed and now recommend for approval by the Ministerial Council, the approach of linking the insurance policy with the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy and the development of Disaster Risk Management Plans for the fisheries sector. They hope that this will incentivize the adoption of best practices for resource management and disaster planning. Countries would pay lower premiums and receive higher payouts after a disaster event if they have disaster risk management plans for the fisheries sector, have established mechanisms to facilitate cooperation among fishers, and are implementing the Common Fisheries Policy.
At the 6th Special Meeting of the Ministerial Council held in October 2016 in Cayman, Fisheries ministers welcomed the progress on the developments of the insurance facilities for the fisheries sector and urged the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF-SPC) to expedite the preparation of the policies and other necessary arrangements, and to launch the policies without delay. Urgent action is needed since threats from climate change and natural disasters, such as hurricanes, pose an ever-present threat to fishers and fish farmers, as well as to food security in the region.
The Ministers will continue to review ways in which the countries can continue to collaborate on developing and implementing comprehensive legislation, protocols and guidelines to ensure fish and seafood safety and security, to expand regional trade and the Caribbean’s access to export markets, as well as to provide the necessary resources and investment to ensure adoption within the context of national governance frameworks.
The Ministers will be asked to approve proposed follow-up interventions to strengthen the linkages between fisheries and tourism and to maximize potential benefits for local fishers and fishing communities, as well as to reduce the growing dependence on imported fish and fisheries products.
CRFM Member States are being urged to address the constraints to sourcing locally produced fish and seafood for the tourism sector, such as inadequate quality assurance, unreliability of supply, inadequate volume, product form and transportation, and lack of communication and information flow between fishers and tourist establishments.
They are also being asked to document the extent to which part-time fishermen are involved in the tourism sector (as tour guides, snorkelers, etc.) and to consider, in the context of promoting alternative or associated livelihoods for fishers focused on the tourism sector, the possibility of fishermen being given first preference to livelihood opportunities in marine protected areas (MPAs).
The Ministers will also consider the preliminary findings and recommendations of a recently concluded study to review the impact of cost factors such as capital, labour, maintenance and energy costs on fisheries operations, in order to identify policy options and strategies to improve efficiency, profitability, sustainability and economic resilience of the sector.
The Ministerial Council
1. Each Member of the Mechanism shall nominate a Minister of Fisheries to represent it on the Ministerial Council and such representative shall have one vote.
2. The Ministerial Council shall meet in regular session once a year and in such special sessions as may be necessary to perform its functions.
3. The Ministerial Council shall determine the policy of the Mechanism. In particular, the Ministerial Council shall:
(a) promote the efficient management, conservation and development of shared, straddling and highly migratory marine and other aquatic resources of the Caribbean Region through attainment of competence over the resources and through co-operation with competent organisations as the case may be;
(b) develop and maintain relations with national, sub-regional and regional institutions and bodies and international institutions and organisations the work of which have an impact on the fisheries within the Region;
(c) promote and facilitate human resource training and development in the fisheries sub-sector at the professional, technical and vocational levels in Member States;
(d) promote and support programmes designed to establish, facilitate and strengthen fisheries research, including the acquisition and sharing of relevant data in Member States;
(e) promote and encourage technical co-operation in the fisheries sub-sector, including technology transfer, information exchange and networking among States of the Caribbean Region and beyond;
(f) encourage co-operation among the Member States in order to avoid disputes or to resolve them in a peaceful manner;
(g) support efforts aimed at ensuring safe, healthy and fair working and living conditions for fishers and fish workers;
(h) consider the annual reports and make decisions in response to recommendations and requests from the Forum;
(i) approve the Budget, Annual Audited Accounts and Procurement Procedures of the Mechanism and Strategic Plan and Work Programme of the Technical Unit;
(j) appoint the Director and Deputy Director of the Technical Unit;
(k) receive and consider policy proposals from the Forum;
(l) approve co-operative arrangements proposed by the Forum;
(m) approve recommendations for States or Territories to be admitted as Associate Members;
(n) approve recommendations for groups, institutions and bodies whose work contribute to the work of the Mechanism to be admitted to the Forum, as Observers;
(o) review the work of the Technical Unit;
(p) submit annual reports to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR).
4. Subject to the provisions of this Article and Article 18, the Ministerial Council shall determine its own rules of procedure.