BELMOPAN, Belize: A management plan for the sustainable harvesting of flying fish among the islands of the Eastern Caribbean has been developed. It is scheduled to be put in place by mid-2013, according to the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).
In a release issued to report on the eighth CRFM Scientific Meeting in Kingstown in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the regional fisheries organization revealed that it has developed this plan alongside the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission.
The CRFM said that once implemented, the plan would “represent a landmark achievement for formal regional cooperation in the management of a shared fishery resource among countries of the Eastern Caribbean”.
Every year, the CRFM’s scientific meeting completes evaluations of a number of major fisheries in the region to determine if the natural fish populations are healthy, and also if and what management controls are required in order to improve the dependent fishing industries’ operations.
At this year’s meeting, fisheries scientists from 12 CRFM member states – Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname and Turks & Caicos Islands – participated. They completed evaluations of the health and economic performance of Jamaica’s queen conch fishery, as well as the seabob (shrimp) fisheries of Guyana and Suriname.
Initial assessments of the health and performance of the reef fisheries of Montserrat and Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean blackfin tuna (bonito) fishery were also completed.
The scientists tested new data analysis and decision-making tools that could include a broader range of data, ranging from the physical aspects of the marine ecosystem and fish biology to data on social and economic development performance.
CRFM stated that these tools would allow member states to offer more holistic and practical fisheries management advice, with a focus on the protection of human well-being and livelihood, as well as climate change risk management.
Along with national fisheries scientists from CRFM countries, fisheries scientists from neighbouring non-CRFM states and several international fisheries experts were present to contribute their expertise to the analyses, the debates and the management advisory reports, prior to the formal release to the governments and industries involved.