ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- Caribbean countries have recognized the need to enhance the effectiveness of fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance, in order to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing – one of the greatest threats to fisheries in the region.
With this need in mind, the Secretariat of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is working in collaboration with the ACP Fish II Programme, funded by the EU, and the consulting firm – AGRER Grupo Typsa of Brussels, Belgium, to host a regional validation workshop as part of an initiative to provide technical support to produce new prosecution and enforcement manuals for CARIFORUM states.
The event starts with an opening ceremony on Wednesday, October 16, in St George’s, Grenada, and runs through to Thursday, October 17.
Grenada’s minister of agriculture, lands, forestry, fisheries and the environment, Roland Bhola, is scheduled to deliver the feature address at the opening ceremony. Dr Milton Haughton, executive director of the CRFM Secretariat; and Mr Cajeton Hood, attorney general, ministry of legal affairs are slated to address the gathering.
Over the course of the two-day workshop which will follow, regional fisheries experts and law enforcement personnel from 15 CARIFORUM states will work towards finalizing two enforcement manuals which address the use of new technology in fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) while expanding on manuals already in use in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Those manuals are the OECS Fisheries Prosecution Manual and the OECS Standard Operating Procedure Manual for fisheries surveillance and enforcement, adopted in 1997 for the nine OECS countries, including the host country Grenada.
The upcoming regional validation workshop is expected to have over 35 participants, including two delegates from each member state, among them key national enforcement training agencies such as police training schools, maritime institutions and regional/international organizations: the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organization, the Regional Security System, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and CARICOM IMPACS - Implementation Agency for Crime and Security.
The workshop facilitators are Dr Winston McCalla of Jamaica and Ambassador Daven Joseph of Antigua and Barbuda, who have been visiting the CARIFORUM states and meeting with fisheries, coast guard, customs, police and other relevant authorities to gather input for the draft manuals.
At the workshop, drafts of the prosecution and enforcement manuals will be presented to regional fisheries experts and enforcement personnel for refinement, and final drafts should be ready for adoption within two weeks. The manuals will furthermore be translated into Spanish, French and Dutch, for wide circulation across CARIFORUM states.
The Grenada workshop will also provide a forum for participants to map out their logistical, resource and training needs, to ensure that they will be better equipped to curb IUU fishing.
Finally, the workshop aims to bolster Caribbean-wide cooperation and knowledge sharing among fisheries and enforcement personnel – another essential tool for maximizing the benefits of the new procedural manuals.
This initiative is the last pending project being undertaken by the ACP Fish II Programme titled “Strengthening Fisheries Management in ACP Countries,” which aims to contribute positively to poverty alleviation and improved food security in Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States. The ACP Fish II project, which began in 2009, concludes next month, November 2013.