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Year-in-Review | CRFM 20th Anniversary Celebrations

Close of the CRFM’s 20th
Anniversary Celebrations

Message from  CRFM Executive Director

As we conclude this year’s Twentieth Anniversary Celebrations, marking two decades since the establishment of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), it is my pleasure to convey our sincerest gratitude to all our Member States, regional and international partners, and supporters across the region and the world for making this a very memorable milestone for all us!

We are delighted to report that the CRFM Secretariat has successfully concluded its Twentieth Anniversary Technical Events Series, which brought us together for almost 30 hours of public engagement on critical issues affecting the fisheries and aquaculture sector, reaching over 600 unique participants from over 60 jurisdictions.

This networking and engagement during our Anniversary Celebrations reenergized and strengthened our relationships and partnerships. For us, this was also a time of consultation and of focusing keen attention on the voice of our stakeholders on the ground, on issues that matter most to them. We listened to your suggestions on how we can continue our collaborative work of protecting our living marine resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

We discussed the state of affairs, and the way forward, in addressing areas essential to our work in fisheries conservation, management, and development. These include:

  1. The Importance of Fish and Aquatic Foods to Food Security and Nutrition
  2. The Sustainable Use of Living Marine Resources
  3. Climate Change, Ocean Acidification, and Disaster Risk Management
  4. Fisheries Conservation and Management
  5. Abandoned, Lost, and Otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG)
  6. Sargassum Value Chain Development
  7. Unlocking the Caribbean Blue Economy
  8. The Logistics Dilemma hindering Intraregional Trade
  9. Strengthening Sanitary and PhytoSanitary Systems and Food Safety in the Fisheries Sector
  10. Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Transnational Organized Crime in the Fishing Industry
  11. Legal, Policy, and Institutional Frameworks for Fisheries
  12. Data and Science for Sustainable Fisheries Development & Management
  13. Training and Capacity Building
  14. Aquaculture and Mariculture
  15. International and Regional Cooperation and Partnerships

We achieved our three-fold purpose for convening the Anniversary Celebrations:

  • to enhance the visibility of the CRFM through promoting its technical and scientific work in the region over the past 20 years;
  • to highlight the role of fisheries and aquaculture in achieving sustainable employment and livelihoods, trade, food security, and nutrition; and 
  • to highlight the potential of the marine living resources to contribute to blue economic growth and development.
In this special e-Newsletter, we share with you our 2023 Year-in-Review, with highlights of our experiences throughout the year. We are also unveiling and disseminating our special Twentieth Anniversary Commemorative e-Magazine, featuring our key milestones over the past 20 years as well as our successes this year. (See details below.)

The CRFM certainly could not have achieved its targets without the support of our partners and collaborators. We wish to thank every person and institution for their individual and collective contributions towards the success of this year’s anniversary celebrations.

A special thanks to the CARICOM Secretariat for its unwavering support throughout the year, and we join all our Member States in congratulating you on your momentous 50th Anniversary Celebrations this year!

The outgoing year, 2023, marked a renewal and a rededication to the causes to which we remain firmly committed! We look forward to strengthened relationships on the road ahead, as we now mainstream our technical engagements into the CRFM’s core communications, visibility, and outreach program.

We pray that you have a safe and blessed holiday season, and we look forward to continuing the work, Towards Sustainable Development of Fisheries for the People of the Caribbean, in 2024 and beyond!

Yours sincerely,

Milton Haughton

Executive Director

CRFM Secretariat


Looking Back: 20 Years of Treasured Memories

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) was officially inaugurated in March 2003, in Belize City, Belize, where it is headquartered, following the signing of the “Agreement Establishing the CRFM” on February 4, 2002. It is an inter-governmental organization with its mission being “To promote and facilitate the responsible utilization of the region’s fisheries and other aquatic resources for the economic and social benefits of the current and future population of the region.” 

In October 2022, the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) announced a year-long celebration to mark the twentieth anniversary of this regional fisheries institution.
MARCH 2023 ✨
Anniversary LaunchOn 27 March 2023, the CRFM–along with its stakeholders and its regional and international partners–celebrated 20 years of hard work, dedication, and outstanding achievements to the Caribbean, as well as internationally. Since the establishment of the CRFM in 2003, we have worked arduously towards the sector’s development, as well as the improvement of fisheries management to help ensure sustainable fisheries and livelihoods for those we serve. We remain committed to working with our Member States towards this cause! This year served not just as a time of celebration but also as a period of serious reflection on attaining a more vibrant, prosperous, and secure future for the Caribbean!WATCH LAUNCH
✨ JUNE 2023 ✨
Technical Events SeriesCRFM kicks off webinar seriesACCESS SERIES
To drive engagement and awareness building on critical topics to the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector, the CRFM convened its technical events series, which included webinars, seminars, and the Scientific Conference. The series began with a webinar on Improving SPS in Fisheries, held on 15 June 2023, and it concluded with the webinar on Building Resilience to Climate Change, Ocean Acidification, and Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries & Aquaculture on 18 December 2023.
Webinar topics:Improving SPS Standards in Fisheries in CARICOMBlue Economic Growth: Aquatic resources value chain development in CARICOMIUU Fishing and Transnational Organized Crime: Progress and ChallengesUnderstanding and tackling abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gearBuilding resilience to climate change, ocean acidification, and disaster risk management in fisheries & aquaculture
Webinar ResourcesPresentations
CRFM and GGGI sign new MoU
To address the problem of abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday, 8 September 2023, during the ALDFG webinar, as a part of their collaborative efforts to combat the growing negative impacts of ALDFG across the Caribbean. The agreement formalizes the partnership between the CRFM and GGGI which began in 2018.LEARN MORE
✨ AUGUST 2023 ✨
4-Day Virtual Scientific Conference
This conference was convened by the CRFM on 28-31 August 2023, and it opened to over 100 guests during the virtual opening ceremony.ACCESS PROCEEDINGS
The call of our leaders is for transformation—transformation that is urgent and ambitious. So while there is plenty for which CRFM should be congratulated, this is not the moment for resting on one’s laurels but to recommit with unwavering determination to forge a path that positions our region as a true leader globally in sustainable fisheries development,” said Dr. Renata Clarke, Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in her Feature Address at the Opening of the Scientific Conference on 28 August.
The 4-day virtual CRFM 20th Anniversary Scientific Conference was convened from Monday, 28 August, to Thursday, 31 August 2023. The Opening Ceremony featured official speakers, after which presentations on work done in fisheries and aquaculture were delivered across 10 sessions, culminating with the presentation of National Reports on the Status of Fisheries and Aquaculture in CRFM Member States.Conference sessions:Fisheries and food security in the regionLegal, policy and institutional frameworks for fisheriesData and science for sustainable fisheries development & managementTraining and capacity building in fisheriesAquaculture and marine scienceFisheries conservation and managementClimate change, ocean acidification, disaster risk management, and recovery in fisheries and aquacultureInternational & regional cooperation and partnershipsFuture of the CRFM in blue economic growthNational Reports on the Status of Fisheries and Aquaculture in CRFM Member States
Conference PageAbstracts
The CRFM unveiled two new jingles during the Scientific Conference. They are available via our social media platforms and our website. The jingles highlight the fisheries and aquaculture sector and celebrate the contributions of the CRFM, its Member States, and its partners, to the sustainable development of the sector.
– Jingle produced by Studio A of Belize
– Jingle produced by Herald Media of Barbados
✨ OCTOBER 2023 ✨
Anniversary Showcase
During the Seventeenth Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) held in the Bahamas and hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat, the CRFM partnered with the Department of Marine Resources (The Bahamas), the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations, and the Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance, to mount an exhibit at the CWA Tradeshow and Expo under the theme, Caribbean Fisheries: Our Treasure, Our Life.During CWA 2023, the CRFM also convened its Thirteenth Special Ministerial Meeting, and its 4-part hybrid seminar series, with support from the CARICOM Secretariat, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and Plant and Food Research of New Zealand, and others.
Learn more by accessing theMultimedia GalleryOPEN
Seminar Series held during Caribbean Week of Agriculture
The four CRFM seminars convened during Caribbean Week of Agriculture, held in October 2023 in The Bahamas, were held in hybrid format. This presented an opportunity to engage in-person and online on very important topics and to help strengthen our network of collaborators and partners working across our region and internationally, to advance the development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector.Seminar topics:Sustainable Use of Living Marine ResourcesSargassum Value Chain DevelopmentThe Logistics Dilemma: supporting competitiveness in fisheries and agricultureUnlocking the Caribbean Blue Economy
Seminar ResourcesPresentations
CRFM inks new MoU with CPSO
The CRFM signed another new partnership agreement during the seminar on Unlocking the Caribbean Blue Economy. According to CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, the new MoU with the CPSO provides a framework for the region to more effectively attain its objectives and commitments, to harness the ocean’s wealth through enterprise and innovation. Dr. Patrick Antoine, Chief Executive Officer and Technical Director of the CPSO, likewise, expressed the hope that the new partnership agreement would place both entities in a better position to fulfill their respective mandates while spurring further development of the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector.
New Regional Protocols
Two new regional protocols were finalized and adopted in 2023 pertaining to the use of living marine resources in the Caribbean.
1. Protocol on Aquatic Foods as a Strategic Resource for Food and Nutrition Security under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP)This third protocol under the CCCFP, approved by the CRFM Ministerial Council at its Seventeenth Regular Meeting held on 27 April 2023, was developed to recognize, promote, and support the sustainable use of aquatic foods (including fish and marine plants) as a strategic resource for food and nutrition security for the peoples of the Caribbean. It is the precursor protocol to the other CCCFP Protocol on sustainable use adopted 6 months later, in October 2023, by the Council.LEARN MORE2. Protocol on the Principle of Sustainable Use of Marine Living Resources for Blue Economic Growth and Sustainable Development of CRFM Member States“Our shared goal is ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for our countries and our people from our marine living resources, through enhanced partnerships, and the application of science, technology, and innovations,”  said Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat at the Thirteenth Special Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council held on 10 October 2023, at which CARICOM ministers responsible for Fisheries approved this fourth protocol under the Common Fisheries Policy.LEARN MORE
Notable advancements were made under two major donor-funded products which the CRFM is implementing along with regional and international partners.
Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience
The second phase of the Sargassum Products for Climate Resilience in the Caribbean Project, a multiyear project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, commenced in early 2023. This new phase focuses on product and process development, and groundbreaking work has begun in the Caribbean to produce Sargassum-derived liquid fertilizers or plant growth promoters, as well as an organic compost from processed Sargassum, for eventual incorporation into farmer and grower practices in the Caribbean.
Regional GEF-funded Blue Economy Project to Strengthen Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries Resilience in the Caribbean
The GEF/CAF/FAO/CRFM “BE-CLME+: Promoting National Blue Economy Priorities Through Marine Spatial Planning in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus” project got underway during 2023. This initiative was developed to strengthen the foundation for blue economic growth and sustainable development of marine living resources by focusing on marine spatial planning, area-based management, and climate-smart sustainable seafood value chain development. 
✨ DECEMBER 2023 ✨
Anniversary e-MagazineOur most recent initiative is the publication and release of the CRFM’s Twentieth Anniversary e-Magazine, featuring highlights of the anniversary celebrations and key milestones over the past 20 years.GET YOUR COPY
Card of Thanks!
We conclude with a Thank You Note to all CRFM Member States, regional and international partners, and supporters who contributed to making the CRFM’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations a success!
The CRFM’s Vision
Effective management, conservation, and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources to maximise social and economic benefits in the CRFM Member States.
The CRFM’s Mission
Promote and facilitate responsible and sustainable use of the region’s fisheries and other living aquatic resources for improved food security, livelihood, and welfare of the people of the region.
CRFM Member States
Our Member States are:AnguillaAntigua and BarbudaThe BahamasBarbadosBelizeDominicaGrenadaGuyanaHaitiJamaicaMontserratSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSurinameTrinidad and TobagoThe Turks and Caicos Islands
CRFM SecretariatPrincess Margaret Drive
Fisheries Compound
P.O. Box 642
Belize City, BELIZE


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