Written by on November 29, 2017

Fishermen assemble FAD in Grenada

An innovative fisheries project which the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has been coordinating since 2013 in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) across six OECS Member States is nearing its end.

The Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project (CARIFICO) was developed in 2012. Between 2009 and 2012, CRFM and JICA worked on developing a masterplan for the sustainable use of fisheries resources for coastal communities in the Caribbean. The CARIFICO project is a follow up project recommended by the master plan.

The overall goal of the project is developing and implementing fisheries co-management approaches in six pilot countries in the Eastern Caribbean and disseminating and sharing the experiences and knowledge acquired to the other CARICOM States.  The pilot project field work was done in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The CRFM and JICA is convening a two-day meeting which ends on December 1 to review the project outcomes as well as chart the way forward. The CARIFICO-CRFM Regional Seminar on Strengthening Fisheries Co-management in the Region will take place at the Bay Gardens Resort in Castries, St. Lucia.

One emphasis of the project was demonstrating and testing co-management approaches by promoting the development and management of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) for harvesting tunas and other pelagic species. In Dominica, where most of the FADs were deployed, fisheries production increased significantly.

The project also tested co-management approaches in addressing ghost fishing by lost fish pots through the introduction of biodegradable panels in the pots.

This is vital since ghost fishing is a problem, especially when fishing gears get lost amid natural disasters. The problem is that drifting gear can keep snagging fish and other marine life. The adverse impact is mitigated by making the gears biodegradable, allowing them to self-destruct.

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