September 19, 2020

Scientists gather in Kingstown to examine and advise on the state of the region’s major fisheries

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The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), a regional fisheries organization of seventeen (17) Member States spanning the Caribbean region, concluded its 8th Scientific Meeting on June 30th, 2012 in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Every year, the CRFM scientific meeting completes evaluations of a number of major fisheries in the region to determine if the natural fish populations remain healthy, and also if and what management controls are required for continued and improved performance of the dependent fishing industries.

Fisheries scientists from twelve (12) CRFM Member States took part in this year’s event: Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

In 2012, CRFM’s fisheries scientists evaluated the health and economic performance of Jamaica’s queen conch fishery, as well as the seabob (shrimp) fisheries of Guyana and Suriname. The first steps towards evaluating the health and performance of the reef fisheries of Montserrat and Jamaica, and the Eastern Caribbean blackfin tuna (bonito) fishery, were also completed. The scientists also tested new data analysis and decision-making tools that could include a broader range of data, ranging from the physical aspects of the marine ecosystem and fish biology to data on social and economic development performance. CRFM believes that these new tools will allow its member states to meet the challenge of providing more holistic and hence practical fisheries management advice, with a central focus on protection of human well-being and livelihoods, and also with the ability to include consideration of risks such as those posed by climate change.

A sub-regional management plan for flying fish in the Eastern Caribbean, developed just days earlier by another technical group (CRFM, working in collaboration with FAO’s Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission), was considered by the meeting. If all goes according to plan, this sub-regional plan for flying fish is set to be implemented by mid-2013, and will represent a landmark achievement for formal regional cooperation in the management of a shared fishery resource among countries of the Eastern Caribbean.

The Honourable Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, Fisheries for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, delivered remarks on behalf of his government during the opening ceremony of the final formal plenary sessions (June 29-30, 2012). Minister Caesar reminded the regional gathering of scientists of the immense contribution made by the fisheries sector towards food security, and the provision of employment opportunities, and noted the importance of ensuring that fishery resources were sustainably managed. The final plenary sessions followed immediately after the individual fishery working group meetings.

Besides national fisheries scientists from CRFM States, fisheries scientists from neighbouring non-CRFM States and several international fisheries experts were in attendance to contribute their expertise to the analyses, the debates and the management advisory reports, prior to their formal release to the governments and industries concerned.

For more information on the work of the CRFM, visit our website at http://www.caricom-fisheries.com

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