CRFM and JICA discuss new fisheries initiative

PRESS RELEASE:-Belize City, Tuesday, 5 July 2016 (CRFM)—Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), met today at the CRFM’s Secretariat in Belize City with Mr. Masaru Honda, Team Leader of the Japan-funded Caribbean Fisheries Co-management Project (CARIFICO) and Chief Advisor in the Fisheries Department in St. Lucia.

“The CRFM welcomes Mr. Honda to Belize to meet with us, and we thank the Government of Japan for their continued commitment and support for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector of the Caribbean region,” Haughton said.

Honda, whose ties with the Caribbean go back 17 years, when he worked with a JICA funded Regional Fisheries Project implemented by the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) in Trinidad and Tobago, said that he has enjoyed working with the Caribbean to foster the development of co-management arrangements with fishing communities.

Haughton and Honda discussed the region’s progress in implementing the multi-million-dollar CARIFICO project, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which focuses on improving the co-management of fisheries in the region, in order to improve the socio-economic status and the welfare of fishers and fishing communities.

They also discussed two new initiatives under the project: (1) the strengthening of co-management of the conch fishery in St. Lucia, and (2) a survey of the socio-economic status of fisheries in the region, using 6 countries in the Eastern Caribbean as pilot sites. The results of the survey will be presented at a regional workshop slated for 2018, at which time the findings of the survey and the outputs of the pilot projects will be the center of deliberations by CRFM Member States.

Haughton said that in Japan, co-management arrangements are well developed, and through the CRFM-JICA partnership, milestones have been achieved in Dominica, Grenada, and Antigua and Barbuda in the sustainable development of pelagic fisheries using fish aggregating devices (FADs).

Furthermore, the Government of Japan has provided direct grants to some CRFM Member States for the deployment of mega-FADs, which are larger and more durable, and enable higher production of larger tunas. The support from Japan has helped the region to diversify its fisheries sector while targeting pelagic species in a more cost-effective manner. Fishers are able to save money with the reduced costs of operation, since they can troll for fish at the FADs where target species aggregate.

Haughton said that through the initiative, CRFM and JICA have partnered in promoting co-management through the establishment and management of the FAD fishery with expertise and technology transferred to the region by the Japanese. The CARIFICO Project is also assisting with the development of co-management arrangements for the pot/trap fishery in Antigua and Barbuda, and the queen conch fisheries in Saint Lucia.

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