Japan teaches Eastern Caribbean fisheries co-management best practices
Six Organization of Eastern Caribbean (OECS) countries have just concluded a four-year fisheries co-management project under the guidance of experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project (CARIFCO) was launched in 2013 to develop and implement “fisheries co-management approaches in six pilot countries in the Eastern Caribbean and disseminat[e] and shar[e] the experiences and knowledge acquired to the other CARICOM States, according to a press release on the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) website.
The pilot project field work was done in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The release defines co-management as “a governance system where responsibility for resource management is shared between the government and resource users, in this case, local fishers and their communities.”
It added that “Japan, which is very advanced in fisheries co-management and conservation, is supporting the initiative to transfer knowledge and build capacity in co-management in the Caribbean region.”
A document provided to SeafoodSource outlined some of the positive results of the project. Its successes included improving interest among OECS fishers in using fish-aggregating devices (FAD), as well as improvement of the design of FADs used. CARIFCO also oversaw the introduction of a biodegradable panel on fish pots to reduce the likelihood of ghost fishing.
The document noted that fishers on some of the islands were able to significantly increase their catch “and subsequently their incomes” by the use of FADs. And “FAD fishery co-management created job opportunities especially for the younger generations” in at least one island.
Data collection by the islands' Fisheries Divisions was also enhanced by CARIFCO, the document said. Further, the project resulted in an improved relationship between the fishers and the Fisheries Division in some islands.
In several instances, islands were able to learn from each other's experience with regard to fisheries co-management good practices. About 30 people from the OECS also received training in Japan over the course of the project.
As a result of the project, several technical papers and guidelines related to fisheries co-management were published on the CRFM's website.
A finalized CARIFICO-CRFM Joint Statement on Fisheries Co-Management is to be presented at the April 2018 meeting of fisheries ministers of CRFM Member States, the CRFM release said.