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.

Listen:

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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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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

WTO members appoint Amb. Deep Ford as new chair of agriculture talks

Ambassador John Deep Ford of Guyana has taken over as chair of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) farm trade talks. WTO members confirmed his appointment at a meeting of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session on 9 April, 2018. In addition to the ongoing negotiations on agricultural reform, Ambassador Ford will also facilitate the negotiations on cotton.

Ambassador Ford replaces Kenya’s Ambassador Stephen Ndung’u Karau. He thanked his predecessor for investing enormous energy and wisdom in guiding members in the agriculture negotiations in the run up to last year’s  Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference.

In his remarks to members, Ambassador Ford said the main goal is to put the negotiations on a firmer footing and ensure that substantive progress is made towards reaching results that accommodate the interests of all members. He noted that despite the lack of an agreement on a future work program for the farm trade talks at last December’s Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, there was clear convergence of views on the need to advance negotiations on all three pillars of agriculture, namely domestic support, market access and export competition. (more…)