GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Across the Caribbean, the fisheries sector employs over 182,000 persons, directly or indirectly. Whereas commercial fisheries play a key role in helping to secure foreign exchange earnings in the region, small-scale fisheries is far more dominant in supplying badly needed jobs, as well as ensuring food security and good nutrition across states.
It is therefore fitting that keen attention is paid to the governance of small-scale fisheries. In this vein, a cross-regional consultation is being held in Georgetown, Guyana, from Monday to Thursday.
Participants in the meeting will represent the Caribbean Network of Fisher folk Organisations Coordinating Unit (CNFO-CU), national fisher folk organizations (NFOs), and NFO Steering Committees from 15 CARIFORUM member states. Collaborating partners are the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA), the Secretariat of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), and The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI).
Fisher folk leaders have recognised the need to keep themselves informed, as well as to share information about current fisheries policy and related matters, so that they can be better poised to make more informed contributions to fisheries policy development at both national and regional levels.
With this in mind, the CTA has recently approved a project to better set out the needs, expectations and demands of fisher folk on regional and national fisheries issues; and to promote the development of common positions by fisher folk organizations on the finalization and adoption of the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries, the Castries (St Lucia) Declaration on IUU Fishing, as well as small-scale fisheries governance and management.
At the Guyana consultation, participants will analyse the implications of regional policy, in an effort to determine what these policies mean for small-scale fisheries. They will also explore a range of actions that fisher folk can take, and formulate strategies for strengthening CNFO governance for effective participation in fisheries management and governance.
The mainstreaming of the ecosystems approach to fisheries (EAF), climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk management (DRM) into small-scale fisheries (SSF) will be highlighted during the course of the consultation.
Participants will furthermore focus on improving mechanisms for continuous information and knowledge sharing and engagement of fisher folk organizations with regional and national policy processes and decision makers, as well as enhancing the advocacy strategy for fisherfolk organizations