Caribbean Fisheries Forum meets in Jamaica

The Caribbean continues to sustain a vibrant fisheries and aquaculture industry. Factory workers in Guyana help to ensure quality standards of produce destined for commercial markets (Photo via CRFM)
The Caribbean continues to sustain a vibrant fisheries and aquaculture industry. Factory workers in Guyana help to ensure quality standards of produce destined for commercial markets (Photo via CRFM)

Heads of national fisheries authorities from 17 Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) began meeting with observers and partner agencies in Jamaica on Thursday 30 March, 2017, for the 15th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum (CFF) for talks on the status of and recent trends in fisheries and aquaculture in the Region. The CFF is the primary technical deliberative body of the CRFM.

Ahead of the hurricane season which begins in June, the two-day Forum meeting at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston, will address measures for adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management in fisheries.Discussions will also focus on plans to strengthen the sector.

 “Climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and disaster risk management are major challenges facing the fisheries sector and the wider economies of our countries. These issues continue to be high priorities for policy-makers and stakeholders because we need to improve capacity, information base and policy, and institutional arrangements to respond to these threats and protect our future. At this meeting, we will be discussing the USA sponsored initiative to provide risk insurance for fishers, among other initiatives to improve and protect the fisheries sector and ensure food security,” CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said.

Caribbean Regional Fisheries Forum
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) was officially inaugurated on 27 March, 2003 in Belize City, Belize, where it is headquartered, following the signing of the “Agreement Establishing the CRFM” on February 4, 2002. It is an inter-governmental organisation whose mission is “to promote and facilitate the responsible utilisation of the Region’s fisheries and other aquatic resources for the economic and social benefits of the current and future population of the Region.”
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Stakeholders discuss way forward for Region’s sugar industry

At the policy workshop opening ceremony, from left are Mr. Karl James, Chairman Sugar Association of the Caribbean, Mr. Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Ms. Nisa Surujbally, Programme Manager, Agriculture and Industry, CARICOM Secretariat, and, at the podium, Mr. Chris Bennett, Managing Director of the Caribbean Council
At the policy workshop, from left are Mr. Karl James, Chairman Sugar Association of the Caribbean, Mr.
Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Ms.
Nisa Surujbally, Programme Manager, Agriculture and Industry, CARICOM Secretariat, and, at the podium, Mr. Chris Bennett, Managing Director of the Caribbean Council

The ability of sugar industry in the Region to survive after the removal of production quotas in the European Union (EU) on September 30, 2017, will depend on improved competitiveness and pragmatic diversification options, according to a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat official.The end of EU’s quota management for sugar is expected to lead to a fall in prices towards the international sugar price and a decrease in sugar imports from the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, with particular impact on Caribbean producers.

In an address on 23 March to the opening of a Regional Policy Workshop in Kingston, Jamaica, that addressed the Caribbean Sugar Industry Post-2017, CARICOM Secretariat Programme Manager, Agriculture and Industry. Ms. Nisa Surujbally, said that securing more remunerative markets, value addition and an enabling policy regime within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) were also very important to the industry’s survival.

“We have witnessed major structural changes in the operations of our sugar industries, including the exit from sugar production of two Member States, Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts and Nevis. Nevertheless, we are mindful of the vital role and contribution of the sugar sectors to the economies of Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Jamaica. Survivability of these industries, after the removal of production quotas in the EU on September 30 2017, will in no small measure be a function of improved competitiveness, securing more remunerative markets, value addition, an enabling policy regime within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, and, not lastly, practical and pragmatic diversification options.

“I say this as a technical official while being acutely aware of the emotional associations we have with our Region’s oldest economic sector. This industry is responsible for us being here and has coloured our history from colonisation, to slavery to indentureship and to independence. It is not an easy time! Now is crunch time”, she told the gathering.

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