The 11th Annual Ministerial Council Meeting of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will be reviewing ongoing programmes and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, with better outcomes expected.
Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture
The ministerial council is the highest decision making body of the CRFM. Decisions made at this meeting are expected to positively impact the fisheries sector in the region.
Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder, who is the newly elected chairman of the council, said that there are measures in place to ensure fishing sustainability in the region. The minister added that in doing this, focus will be placed on the development of aquaculture. “As we seek to further develop our marine fisheries resources we must recognise the need to increase investment in aquaculture, therefore support to the sustainable development of aquaculture, including identifying and providing further appropriate training activities in aquaculture for both private and public sector personnel must be forthcoming.”
Additionally, Minister Holder noted that each member state must work with the CRFM to ensure that it has the best possible human resources, whether technical and/or managerial to carry out its mandate and provide all that is needed to ensure that it remains relevant in a society where technology and methods continually evolve.
The Ministerial Council will also receive and consider the report and recommendations of the 15th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum. The CRFM’s technical advisory body meeting was held in Jamaica in March 2017, in preparation for this Council’s meeting.
Outgoing Chairman, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaican Karl Samuda was represented by Derwin Spence.
Spence said that often the voice of the CRFM is silent and non-fishery officials ignorantly make pronouncements which can negatively impact the fishery sector.
Spence pointed out that, “Jamaica is not different from other CRFM Member states, with respect to the importance of our fisheries sector, and its contribution to food and nutrition security of our peoples and indeed to the sustainable livelihood of some of the most vulnerable in our societies. In our efforts to achieve sustainable management and development of our capture and culture fishers, we have established this noble mechanism, the CRFM.”
Significant strides in several areas have been made by the CRFM, but there is still some work that needs to be done, to adequately protect and secure the livelihood of coastal communities, and general food security, and to transition to fishing that is more sustainable, profitable and can generate more wealth, CRFM’s Executive Director noted.
Derwin Spence, Representative, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica
The CRFM was officially inaugurated on March 27, 2003 following the signing of the, agreement establishing the CRFM on February 4, 2002. It is an inter-governmental organisation with its mission to, “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”. The CRFM consists of three bodies – the Ministerial Council; the Caribbean Fisheries Forum; and the CRFM Secretariat.
The fisheries sector in CARICOM contributes approximately US$420M to Gross Domestic Product for the region, and employs about 341,000 people either directly or indirectly. The Council aims to improve the trade and economic performance of the sector while addressing climate change and other associated threats.