Fisheries Management Study in the Caribbean

IC Net Limited has been awarded a contract for a fisheries management project in the Caribbean. The project will make recommendations regarding fishermens’ perceptions and organizational strengthening, by working with long term experts and various counterparts for social research design, implementation and analysis. The project will be carried out from the middle of September to early December of 2014.

Fishing is a traditional and important industry in the Caribbean. Today, the fishery industry plays a key role in generating employment, and is closely related to sports fishing, seafood restaurants, hotels and tourism. Furthermore, local residents incorporate a variety of seafood into their diet.  However, there has been a decrease in coastal fisheries resources due to excessive over-fishing.  In March 2003, the Caribbean Community Secretariat established the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) as one of the main agencies to manage fisheries through the cooperation of member states.

Japan carried out a fisheries development and management Master Plan survey from 2009 until 2012, per request by the CRFM Secretariat and member states.  The study revealed thatthe: (1) Bureau of international fisheries personnel and financial systems and resource management plans have been weak; (2) development of statistics required for resource management is inadequate, as there is insufficient feedback to fishermen; as is data aggregation of all activities are limited; (3) mechanism to share experience in resource management activities and lessons learned is weak; (4) fishermen are apprehensive about their livelihood threatened by restritive resource management policies and are in need to create alternate sources of income; and (5) improvement in marketing fishery products is essential.

Given this backdrop, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)’s governments (St. Vincent, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada) of the CRFM member countries requested Government of Japan for a technical cooperation project to develop fisheries resource management techniques aiming to aid in the implementation of Caribbean regional fisheries management. After a feasibility study was conducted, the Caribbean Region and Government Fisheries Management Project (CARIFICO) was launched in May 2013 for a duration of five years. This project funded the activities of long term experts.

It is imperative to foster collaboration between fishermen and the government in an arrangment such as co-management of fish resources, rather than taking a government-led top-down approach. The project activities are classified into directly and indirectly support co-management.