BELIZE CITY -
Common Fisheries Policy for Caribbean approved as final policy
The Council for Trade and Economic
Development (COTED), comprised of Ministers responsible for Agriculture from
across the Caribbean Community, has confirmed the Caribbean Community Common
Fisheries Policy as a final policy document for the Community.
The Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) is
aimed at fostering greater harmonisation across the Caribbean in the
sustainable management and development of the region’s fisheries and
aquaculture resources, with special emphasis on promoting the most efficient
use of shared resources while aiming to improve food security and reduce
poverty in the region.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has said that CARICOM
policies, once authorized by COTED, are binding on the countries. At its
meeting held in Suriname last Friday, 10 October 2014, COTED gave its stamp of
approval to the CCCFP and said that the newly authorized policy should be
applied by Member States as far as possible. The formal signing of the CCCFP by
member countries is expected to commence in the months ahead.
The recommendation to COTED came out of the 5th Special
Meeting of the CRFM's Ministerial Council, held on Thursday, 9 October 2014, in
Paramaribo, Suriname, coinciding with Caribbean Week of Agriculture. On that
occasion, the CRFM’s Executive Director, Milton Haughton, presented a paper on
First CARICOM Strategic Plan (2015 – 2019). The CARICOM Sec
retariat and all other CARICOM Institutions along with the
CARICOM countries will all be following a single plan for the first time
following its approval by the Heads of Government in July 2014.
Grouper considered by US for listing as threatened species
On 2 September 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS), Government of the United States, announced its finding and
determination that “the Nassau Grouper meets the definition of a threatened
species” and proposes “to list it as threatened under the Endangered Species
The CRFM Ministerial Council discussed the USA’s proposal
to list the Nassau Grouper, an important commercial fish species in many CRFM
Member States, as a threatened species under the USA Endangered Species Act.
The Ministerial Council said that Member States would need
to be proactive in addressing this challenge.
It called on Member States of the CRFM to compile the best available
data and information on the status and active management of Nassau grouper in
their countries, particularly information that could inform NMFS’ final listing
and proposed conservation measures. The window of opportunity for submitting
closes on 31 December 2014.
grave concern over extra-national
activities and decisions that impact on the social and economic conditions and
international trade of CRFM Member States.
Strengthening Fisheries cooperation with French Caribbean
Apart from its endorsement of the CCCFP as a final policy
document, COTED also endorsed the decision arising out of the 5th Special
Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council, held the day before the COTED meeting,
to strengthen cooperation between CARICOM/CRFM States and the French
Départements Outre-Mer (DOMs) in the Caribbean, particularly Martinique,
Guadeloupe and French Guiana.
Since 2011, CRFM States have been discussing ways of
improving cooperation with the French territories in the Caribbean, when the
issue was discussed within the context of strengthening management and
conservation of the Eastern Caribbean flyingfish fishery and combating IUU
fishing in the region.
The initiative comes
at a time when the CRFM has adopted the first regionally approved management
plan for flyingfish, a known shared species that is harvested by up to seven
countries in the Eastern Caribbean: six CARICOM States and Martinique. The flyingfish
plan was approved by the CRFM in May 2014 and closer cooperation with the
French will support its successful implementation and provide opportunities for
further dialogue and collaboration on other challenges facing the fishing
industry of the countries concerned.
Curaçao applies to join the CRFM
On 17 April 2014, Curaçao
submitted its application for Associate Membership in the CRFM. The Ministerial
Council, acting on the recommendation of the Executive Committee, supports the
application of Curaçao to join the CRFM as an Associate Member.
Consequently, the Ministerial Council has authorized the
CRFM Secretariat to commence the process of negotiating an Association
Agreement with Curaçao, which should be finalized and ready for signature for
the 9th Meeting of the Ministerial Council slated for April/May 2015.
The Ministerial Council is empowered to admit any State or
Territory of the Caribbean Region as an Associate Member, providing the
Ministerial Council is satisfied that the State or Territory is able and
willing to discharge its obligations.
Expanding knowledge sharing using ICT technologies
Representatives of the
CRFM countries and stakeholder organisations also discussed strategies for
enhanced knowledge management and the use of information and communication
technologies (ICT) for information sharing and cooperation in the fisheries
sector as a way to improve the welfare and livelihood of fishers.
The issue was
discussed at both the Executive Committee meeting and at a one-day workshop
made possible through the CTA-funded Knowledge Platform Project. The workshop
reviewed materials and strategies being used for communication among fisheries
professionals and stakeholders in the fishing industries across the region and
considered ways of improving the effort. The workshop also sought to strengthen
the use of ICT in fisheries and identified ways to promote sharing of
information and technology for improving participation of stakeholders in
policy development and the management of fisheries.
CTA is the Technical Centre for Agricultural
and Rural Cooperation, a joint international institution of the African,
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Union (EU) which aims to
improve food and nutritional security and encourage natural resource management
in ACP countries.
At its subsequent meeting, the Ministerial Council
underscored the need for countries to use modern ICT tools to enhance policy
dialogue and the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of programmes and
activities within the fisheries sector. The Council expressed its support for
the regional fisheries workshop on promoting blue growth, scheduled for 20
to 21 November 2014
Case 21 to tackle IUU fishing
In relation to developments in international fisheries
law, the CRFM’s Ministerial Council welcomed the ongoing deliberations by the
International Tribunal on the Laws of the Seas (ITLOS), to clarify
international law on matters such as flag state responsibility and liability in
the fight against
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU
Legal counsel for the CRFM, Professor Pieter Bekker of
Dundee University, Scotland, had presented oral arguments to the full Tribunal
of 21 Judges on 5 September 2014. Bekker's submission was well received and