The training and certification of seamoss farmers is a component of a larger project aimed at strengthening community-based marine protected areas management (marine reserves or no-take-zones) by providing resources, training and alternative livelihood opportunities in 5 countries across the Caribbean.
This project comes under the Caribbean Fish Sanctuary Partnership Initiative (C-FISH). C- FISH is funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
The CARIBSAVE Partnership is implementing the project on behalf of DFID and the CCCCC.
Approximately 25 seamoss farmers from the Au Picon- Cacoa region in Vieux Fort North will receive certification in sustainable seamoss production at an official ceremony on Friday, 19th February 2016 at the Vieux Fort Square from 10:00 am.
This certification comes after months of training and assessment of seamoss farmers guided
by the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Sustainable Seamoss Production developed through the Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) Unit within the Ministry of Education. According to Mr. Craig Henry, Programme Officer of the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), the lead implementing agency for this project, “This is a major milestone for the seamoss industry and for Saint Lucia in general as no such vocational training programme existed in the Caribbean prior.
Another major success is that the NVQ has since then been approved and adopted as the CARICOM wide standard for training and certification in sustainable seamoss production across the region”.
The Fisheries Division of the Ministry Agriculture, Food, Production, Fisheries, Co-operatives and Rural Development was also integrally involved in the training and assessment of the seamoss farmers.
Seamoss cultivation is currently being promoted across the region because of its low impact on the environment, and low input costs compared to other forms of terrestrial crop cultivation.
The seamoss industry itself has a great opportunity for growth as seamoss is increasingly being recognised as having significant nutritional and health benefits for people of all ages.
Following the certification ceremony, there will be a small exhibition of an array of local seamoss products which have been manufactured utilizing the local seamoss as the main ingredient.