Caribbean fisheries ministers focus on sustainability, equity
Fisheries ministers from member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) were expected to move forward with fisheries management plans for blackfin tuna and the use of fish aggregating devices, at a meeting held mid-May in Montserrat.
This 12th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council followed up on April's meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM, and sought to advance the agenda for recommendations made at the forum.
“The focus of this Ministerial Council meeting is on building resilience and equity in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector,” Executive Director of the CRFM Milton Haughton, said in a press release sent to SeafoodSource before the meeting. “The Ministers will, therefore, discuss and decide on a number of policy instruments designed to strengthen management and conservation of key fisheries and their ecosystems, and enhance governance through equity and equality, inclusiveness, and participatory planning and decision-making processes.”
Among other items to be discussed at the 18 May meeting was a protocol for ensuring sustainable small-scale fisheries. Developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, this protocol seeks to enhance food security, improve the socioeconomic situation of fishworkers, and achieve sustainable use of fishery resources, through the promotion of a human-rights based approach.
“In addition, the Ministers will discuss a regional policy aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries development, and management policies and programmes in CRFM Member States,” the press release said
“The Ministerial Council will also consider a proposal to collaborate with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, to look at ways in which the region can access international support and funding to reduce ghost fishing in Caribbean waters.” Recent reports in the international media highlighted the seriousness of this issue, where a ghost fishing net off the Cayman Islands had killed hundreds of fish and sharks.
“Advancements in fisheries research and development, the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, aquaculture development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening will also be discussed,” the press release said.
At the meeting, the chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council was assumed by Montserrat's Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, David Osborne, who took over the position from Guyana's Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder.