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Fisheries meeting on Wednesday

Heads of national fisheries authorities from the 17 member states and observers of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism will attend the 11th Meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum from April 24 to 26 at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Rockley, Christ Church.

Inaugurated on March 27, 2003 in Belize, the CRFM’s goal is to promote the sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources in and among member states, by the development, management and conservation of these resources in collaboration with stakeholders, to benefit the people of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Fisheries Forum is one of three organs of the CRFM. Its mandate is to provide technical leadership to the organisation, including scientific advice to the Ministerial Council, a second organ of the CRFM, whose tasks include setting the CRFM’s policies as well as determining how resources are to be allocated.

At this week’s meeting, the forum will be updated on the progress of technical activities being undertaken by the CRFM (and more specifically the secretariat, the CRFM member states and network partners). The team will also prepare forward-looking recommendations which are to be presented to Caribbean fisheries ministers when they meet in council on May 31, 2013 in Barbados.

The recently concluded CRFM Communication and Information Technology Strategy will be presented to the forum. There will also be important updates on progress made to date with implementing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, as well as the Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing; the Regional Strategy, Action Plan and Proposal for Climate Change Adaptation and DRM in Fisheries; and the Strategic Action Programme for the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem.

The Caribbean Fisheries Forum will assess progress in fisheries policy, legislation and institutional development; fisheries management and development; the state of commercially important fish stocks in the region such as lobster, shrimp, conch, tunas, coastal pelagics, and flying fish; fisheries research; statistics and information; human resource development and capacity-building initiatives; finance and administration, and resource mobilisation.

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, said this will be a very important meeting marking the 10th anniversary of the CRFM. The meeting, he said, will provide an opportunity to take stock of progress and setbacks over the past 10 years and to agree on the strategic directions and priorities for the next 10 years.

The forum will also receive an update on the review of the petition in the United States to have the queen conch listed for trade restrictions under CITES.

CRFM member states are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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