Caribbean Fish­eries Fo­rum to re­view re­gional spiny lob­ster dec­la­ra­tion

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Heads of na­tional fish­eries au­thor­i­ties from the seven­teen (17) Mem­ber States of the Caribbean Re­gional Fish­eries Mech­a­nism (CRFM), as well as ob­servers and part­ner agen­cies, will at­tend the 13th Meet­ing of the Caribbean Fish­eries Fo­rum in Gre­nada this week. The rep­re­sen­ta­tives will re­view the sta­tus of fish­eries and aqua­cul­ture in the re­gion and chart the roadmap for en­hanc­ing their con­tri­bu­tion to na­tional and re­gional devel­op­ment. CRFM Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor, Mil­ton Haughton, said, “The fish­eries and aqua­cul­ture sec­tor is play­ing an in­creas­ing role in food and nu­tri­tion se­cu­rity, as well as the pro­vi­sion of in­come and liveli­hoods for the peo­ple of the Caribbean.” The 13th Meet­ing of the Caribbean Fish­eries Fo­rum will open at 9:00 a.m. on Mon­day, March 30 at the Flam­boy­ant Ho­tel in St. Ge­orge’s, Gre­nada. It will con­clude on Tues­day, March 31, 2015. The Fo­rum is the arm of the CRFM which pro­vides tech­ni­cal and sci­en­tific lead­er­ship to the or­gan­i­sa­tion. It also pro­vides ad­vice to the CRFM Min­is­te­rial Coun­cil on re­gional ac­tions for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment and con­ser­va­tion of the re­sources. At its up­com­ing meet­ing, the Fo­rum is ex­pected to re­view and fi­nalise the lat­est ver­sion of the re­gional lob­ster dec­la­ra­tion and rec­om­mend its ap­proval by the Min­is­te­rial Coun­cil, when it meets in Gre­nada in May 2015. This is an agree­ment to pro­mote har­monised re­gional ac­tions to en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity and con­ser­va­tion of spiny lob­ster re­sources, and to pro­tect its habi­tats and ecosys­tems against the threats of ir­re­spon­si­ble fish­ing, habi­tat degra­da­tion, and cli­mate change and re­lated ad­verse im­pacts. Apart from ad­vanc­ing the re­gional spiny lob­ster dec­la­ra­tion, the Caribbean Fish­eries Fo­rum will re­view and re­fine the plan of ac­tion for the Caribbean Com­mu­nity Com­mon Fish­eries Pol­icy (CCCFP) – a re­gional agree­ment for the con­ser­va­tion, man­age­ment and sus­tain­able utilisation of fish­eries and aqua­cul­ture re­sources. The Fo­rum will also re­view ac­tiv­i­ties in CRFM states to achieve the sus­tain­able man­age­ment and use of fish­eries re­sources (in­clud­ing fly­ing-fish, tu­nas and other tuna-like species), the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of aqua­cul­ture, and adap­ta­tion to cli­mate change and dis­as­ter risk man­age­ment in the sec­tor. The CRFM is an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion of Caribbean states, namely An­guilla, An­tigua and Bar­buda, The Ba­hamas, Bar­ba­dos, Belize, Do­minica, Gre­nada, Guyana, Haiti, Ja­maica, Montser­rat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lu­cia, St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines, Suri­name, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Is­lands. The CRFM’s goal is to es­tab­lish ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures for the con­ser­va­tion, man­age­ment, sus­tain­able utilisation and devel­op­ment of fish­eries re­sources and re­lated ecosys­tems. It also works to strengthen the skills of fish­ers across the re­gion, as well as to op­ti­mise the so­cial and eco­nomic re­turns from the fish­eries sec­tor. Fi­nally, the CRFM pro­motes com­pet­i­tive trade and sta­ble mar­ket con­di­tions. The fish­eries sec­tor in the CARICOM / CARIFORUM re­gion em­ploys over 182,000 per­sons, di­rectly or in­di­rectly. Th­ese fish­ers are mostly from ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties which lack other in­come-earn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

(Credit: NOAA)

A Caribbean spiny lob­ster on the sea floor. This photo was shot dur­ing a 2010 NOAA ex­pe­di­tion in the U.S. Vir­gin Is­lands to map un­der­wa­ter habi­tats and the

marine life they sup­port.

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