BELIZE CITY, Belize -- Thousands of fisherfolk from across the Caribbean are poised to benefit greatly from a unique and timely Euro 117,956 (US$150,000) project which will help them develop a more sustainable and professional industry, and improve their quality of life as well as the nutrition they obtain from seafood.
The project, entitled Implementing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy: Positioning and Engaging Fisher Folk Organizations, is to be undertaken through Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), which has recently been awarded a 12-month contract by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA).
The agreement was signed by Milton Haughton, executive director of CRFM and Michael Hailu, CTA Director on 18 October 2012.
Through the project, Caribbean fisherfolk will be continuously engaged with decision-makers, as they increase their participation in the formulation of key regional fisheries policies.
The partner organizations, CRFM and CTA, have been working together in the support of the dynamic process initiated by fisherfolk groups to create a Caribbean Regional Network of Fisherfolk Organizations (CNFO), which was established in 2009. The direct beneficiaries of this new project will be the national fisherfolk organizations (NFOs).
Today, fishers from across the region grapple with limited opportunities to engage policymakers, inadequate networking at national and regional levels, as well as a limited capacity to advance their interests as stakeholders in the industry.
This new project will help to address these problems by engaging the various parties in a one-week consultation on the implementation and mainstreaming of regional fisheries policies into small-scale fisheries governance arrangements in the Caribbean.
Via this process, fisherfolk organizations are expected to come up with common positions on the finalization and adoption of the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, the Castries (St Lucia) Declaration on IUU Fishing, and other relevant fisheries agreements.
The CRFM-CTA project will engage executives as well as members of national fisherfolk organizations in 15 ACP member countries who are part of the CRFM/CARIFORUM group, as well as representatives from partnering organizations.
Fisherfolk will, through this process, build insight into fisheries ecosystems and the likely impacts of the fishing techniques they use on various ecosystems, while expanding their knowledge on common fisheries management tools which take into account climate change and disaster risk reduction.
The project is also expected to positively contribute to sound, key regional fisheries policies that take into account small-scale fisher folk positions and their proposals.