Working group session crafts advocacy plans and messages
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- Over 35 fisherfolk leaders from the St Vincent and the Grenadines National Fisherfolk Cooperative Society Limited (SVGNFCSL) and affiliate fisherfolk cooperatives, and representatives from the Fisheries and Cooperatives Divisions, Office of the Prime Minister, Regional Integration Unit, and CRFM Secretariat participated in a national fisherfolk workshop in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) from May 5 - 6, 2014.
This workshop was aimed at strengthening the capacities of the fisherfolk organisations in SVG to better participate in the national, regional and international processes for developing and implementing fisheries and related policies.
"... fisherfolk need to work together to achieve maximum benefits from the fishing industry..." said Eocen Victory, president of the SVGNFCSL, as he introduced himself to the other participants.
During the workshop, participants, using a needs assessment approach, identified challenges to fisherfolk organisations and fisherfolk in SVG in areas such as management of fisherfolk organisations, membership participation, fishing as a business, participatory fisheries governance and management, youth involvement in small-scale fisheries and social security for fisherfolk. Then, they determined the likely solutions, including the capacities and resources required to address these challenges.
They recognised the urgent need for clearly defined national fisheries and related policies and plans to be put in place, as these should provide the opportunities to deal with their challenges beyond the short term. They also examined means by which they could communicate and advocate for changes in the national and regional policy, institutional and planning arrangements that would better address their issues.
Supporting the engagement of fisherfolk is especially critical now, as there are a number of international, regional and national policies being developed and implemented that will impact on their livelihoods. The Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organistions (CNFO) in consultation with its membership, including SVGNFCSL, is putting forward fisherfolk positions in ongoing negotiations on the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries, which are being coordinated by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
At the regional level, they are seeking to input into the operationalization of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy and the Castries (St Lucia) Declaration on IUU fishing.
The workshop was convened under the over 1 million Euro European Union-funded project enhancing food security from the fisheries sector in the Caribbean: Building the capacity of regional and national fisherfolk organisation networks to participate in fisheries governance and management, which is targeting fisherfolk organisations in the countries of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos.
It is being implemented by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), working in partnership with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies of the University of the West Indies (UWI-CERMES), Panos Caribbean, Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Associations (CNFO) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CFRM).