Caribbean Fisheries Ministers meet Friday

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, THURSDAY, 17 May 2018 (CRFM)—Caribbean Fisheries Ministers from  Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) meet on Friday in Montserrat. The Ministers are expected to consider management plans for two vital fisheries, a protocol on small-scale fisheries and a policy on gender equality mainstreaming at their 12th Meeting.

The Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in Montserrat, will assume chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council. He succeeds the Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture of Guyana.

The Ministers will be asked to approve the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Blackfin Tuna, and the management plan for fisheries conducted using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which is a growing fishery in the Region. (more…)

COTED plays crucial role in advancing integration – CARICOM SG

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said matters under consideration at the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) presented an opportunity to provide solutions that would advance the regional integration movement.

He was speaking on Wednesday morning at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, during the opening session of the Forty-Sixth Meeting of the COTED.

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Hurricanes Irma and Maria a hint of what the future holds

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque warned that Hurricanes Irma and Maria which devastated many countries in the Region last year were “a hint at what the future holds”.

Speaking at the opening of a meeting with the Heads of Institutions of the Community at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana, on Monday, the Secretary-General noted that the long-term forecasts for climatic activity in the Region were even “more foreboding as the effects of climate change become more pronounced.”

The meeting was aimed at strengthening the co-ordination among the Institutions and the Secretariat as the Community builds resilience to encounter the new normal of more intense and frequent climatic activity. A review of the preparedness and management of the response to the events of last September has been undertaken by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to glean lessons learnt.

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Agriculture Minister says farmers are producing in wake of Hurricane Maria

Agriculture Minister, Reginald Austrie, has said that eight months after the passage of Hurricane Maria, farmers are playing their part and feeding the nation and rebuilding Dominica after Hurricane Maria.

He spoke at a signing ceremony of US$65-million between the Government of Dominica and the World Bank for climate resilient projects on Thursday morning.

“Recent statistic shows that eight months after the passage of the most devastating hurricane recorded in modern history, the farmers of this country continue to demonstrate their resilience and their commitment to the task feeding the nation and rebuilding back our beloved country,” he said.

He stated that other than fresh fruits and vegetable farmers market at various supermarket, the records show that after Maria, a large number of other crops have been planted or replanted.

Read more at: Dominica News Online

Communities innovate to address Sargassum seaweed on coasts of Saint Lucia

Sargassum is free-floating brown macro-algae that lives in the temperate and tropical oceans of the world. In the open ocean, the floating seaweed provides important ecosystem services by acting as habitats for a diverse group of marine animals. It provides food, shade, and shelter to many types of specialized fish, crustaceans, and turtles. When it reaches the coastline, it provides fertilizer for the plant ecosystems that protect the shoreline from erosion and promotes biodiversity of marine bird and wildlife.

Since 2011, excessively large quantities of Sargassum have accumulated in the Caribbean Sea, only to wash ashore in several Caribbean countries. Massive Sargassum seaweed blooms are becoming increasingly frequent in the Caribbean. The seaweed covers the beaches in huge, stinking blankets that sometimes measure up to 10 feet in depth. As it rots, the seaweed emits a toxic gas known as hydrogen sulphide, which smells of rotting eggs.

The seaweed creates an extreme lack of oxygen in the sea close to shore, killing off native species and resulting in dead zones by first robbing the water of nutrients before they die and absorbing oxygen out of the water to decompose.  It fouls the beaches, not just for the visiting tourists who contribute to the local economies, but also for several endangered species of marine turtles. The turtles have to dig through several feet of seaweed to lay their eggs or climb beyond the seaweed mats to find clear sand. Later, their hatchlings get entangled in the seaweed on their way to the ocean and die.

On the east coast of Saint Lucia, a local youth by the name of Johanan Dujon noticed how the piles of seaweed were causing trouble for the local fishermen by damaging their equipment and boat engines, as well as complicating their daily lives by making landing difficult upon return from fishing trips. The budding entrepreneur recognized an opportunity to capitalize on this freely available resource to create valuable organic agricultural inputs, which could in turn reduce and eventually replace the environmentally harmful synthetic chemicals used to grow food in St. Lucia. In 2014, Dujon founded Algas Organics and began experimentation with formulations to make this idea a reality.

Read more at: Global Environment Facility