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Over 100 Gather for Multi-Agency Fisheries Meetings

Sustainability Politics +2 more

JAMAICA - Over 100 stakeholders from government and grassroots agencies, as well as regional and international organisations, will be gathering this week in Kingston, Jamaica, for a series of five multi-agency fisheries meetings from December 5-12.

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Speaking of the significance of the meetings, Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) said: "It is an opportunity for the countries and stakeholders, meaning government representatives as well as fisherfolk and other stakeholders including non-government organizations and civil society organisations to get together to discuss issues of common interest and to come up with plans and programs for a brighter future."

The meetings are convened by the CRFM in collaboration with the FAO Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), through funding and technical assistance provided by FAO.

Mr Haughton said that the performance of the CRFM as an organization will be assessed during the course of the meetings. "We've been in operations now for almost eight years, so we are stopping and taking stock of our performance over the last few years..." he said.

The review will pave the way for the CRFM Member States and collaborators to formulate a new eight-year strategic plan for the CRFM (2013 -2021).

Whereas the first two meetings will be focused on administrative work, the remaining three will focus on driving major fisheries initiatives forward, as we seek to transform, modernise and improve the aquaculture and fisheries sector. These meetings are aimed at ensuring a more secure future for those persons who depend upon fisheries and aquaculture resources for their livelihoods, particularly small-scale fishers and their families.

The third meeting, the FAO/CRFM/WECAFC Regional Small-Scale Fisheries Workshop, will center around small-scale fisheries development, more specifically, the development of international guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries, while the fourth is geared towards developing a strategy and action plan to respond to climate change and disaster risk management in fisheries and aquaculture across the Caribbean.

Mr Haughton said they will be breaking new ground with the degree of intersectoral, interdisciplinary and participatory approaches that they are taking. "It is the first time that fisheries, disaster risk management and climate change officials will be meeting together with representatives of fisherfolk organizations, civil society organisations, academic institutions, and international and regional development partners, to come up with collective plans and programmes, and identify strategic directions to move the sector towards higher levels of outputs and sustainable development," he explained.

Mr Haughton elaborated that participants will be meeting to develop integrated plans across traditional sectoral lines that would address important areas of need within the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

Jamaica's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Roger Clarke will deliver the feature address at the official opening ceremony, which will take place on Thursday, December 6, followed by a press conference.