BELMOPAN, Belize; Monday July 9, 2012 – A management plan for the sustainable harvesting of flying fish among the islands of the eastern Caribbean has been developed for implementation by the middle of next year according to the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).
In a release issued to report on the eighth CRFM Scientific Meeting, which took place recently in Kingstown in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the regional fisheries organization revealed that it had developed this plan in collaboration with United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission.
The CRFM said once implemented, this management plan would “represent a landmark achievement for formal regional cooperation in the management of a shared fishery resource among countries of the Eastern Caribbean”.
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.
At this year’s meeting, fisheries scientists from 12 CRFM member states: Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Turks and Caicos Islands, completed evaluations of 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 stated that these new tools would 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.
Along with 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.
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 at which point he reminded the regional gathering 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.