LAVENTILLE, Trinidad (CANARI) -- The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) recently received a €1,032,099 grant from the European Union, via its EuropeAid programme, to improve the contribution of the small scale fisheries sector to food security in the Caribbean.
This will be achieved through building the capacity of regional and national fisherfolk organisation networks to participate in fisheries governance and management.
The four-year project covers fisherfolk working across the Caribbean, including in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Building the capacity of the fisheries sector is critical to address the region’s growing concern with food and nutrition security. Since 2005, the Caribbean has recorded food import bills of more than €3.5 billion and rising food prices have compounded this challenge.
The fisheries sector in the CARICOM/CARIFORUM region employs over 182,000 persons, directly or indirectly. These are mostly small-scale fisherfolk from rural communities who lack other income earning opportunities. The fisheries sector is therefore especially important to these rural communities which usually exhibit a higher percentage of poverty than the national average.
Involving small-scale fisherfolk in fisheries management and governance is critical to ensure that fishing methods are sustainable, fisheries livelihoods are protected, and food security and nutrition are improved.
There are, however, only limited opportunities offered by current regional and national fisheries governance arrangements for fisherfolk to participate in policy debates, processes and decision-making. Fisherfolk organisations have limited capacity to articulate members’ interests and positions on fisheries policy and food and nutrition security issues and there is inadequate networking among Caribbean fisherfolk at the regional and national levels to build an effective voice on fisheries issues.
As decision-makers in the Caribbean are experimenting with participatory models to improve the governance of the fisheries sector, this project will assist by building the capacity of fisherfolk and their networks to be strong partners in the process.
The specific objectives of the project are to:
1. Strengthen the regional Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) and its network of national fisherfolk organisations in Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) countries/territories.
2. Build capacity of regional and national networks of fisherfolk organisations and their individual members to participate in Caribbean fisheries governance and management at the national and regional levels.
3. Enhance communication within and among networks of fisherfolk organisations for exchange of information, collaboration, and development of consensus on policy for the governance of Caribbean fisheries in relation to food security.
4. Improve the effectiveness and equity of participation of fisherfolk in decision-making processes in governance of Caribbean fisheries in relation to food security.
The project is being implemented by CANARI, in partnership with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) of the University of the West Indies and Panos Caribbean in association with the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Associations (CNFO) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CFRM).