BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Monday, 11 December 2017 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and its partners at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently held a wrap-up meeting in Saint Lucia at which the outcomes of the novel Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project (CARIFICO) were unveiled. The most important benefits underscored are better catches and improved incomes for fishers who began using Fish Aggregating Devices or FADs. These were designed, constructed, deployed and managed in a cooperative manner by the fishers themselves in collaboration with government officials and with support from the Japanese experts.
Fishers from the pilot countries attended the meeting in Saint Lucia and shared how the project has positively impacted them. Fisheries officials from the CARICOM countries, except for Bahamas and Belize, also attended. International partners from JICA, fisheries experts deployed in the region and officials from JICA headquarters in Japan, as well as representatives from the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisation, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and the University of Florida were also present.
CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton said that he was impressed with the progress made in introducing co-management approaches in specific fisheries, as well as the level of investment of fishers in the process. Fishers have formed new fisherfolk organisations which are actively participating in the development and management of the target fisheries as a result of the CARIFICO project. Through the project, governments in the six pilot countries are sharing more authority and responsibility for fisheries development and management with stakeholders by improving relations and communications, and promoting increased participation by them in decision-making in fisheries.