Fisheries ministers from member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will meet at Fort Young Hotel, in Roseau, Dominica, on Friday, May 23, 2014, for the Eight Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council.

According to CRFM’s Executive Director, Milton Haughton, the first sub-regional fisheries management plan (FMP) to facilitate co-operation in the conservation, management and sustainable use of the flying fish resources shared among countries in the Eastern Caribbean, recently endorsed by the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, will be presented to the ministers for their review and endorsement. It is anticipated that the Council will sign an accompanying resolution approving the Plan.

The meeting is also expected to approve a Regional Coral Reef Plan of Action aimed at strengthening coordinated action to protect, conserve and manage these important ecosystems and secure their contribution to the regional development. Healthy coral reef ecosystems and their fisheries are central to the health of the Caribbean Sea and the well being of coastal communities and Caribbean societies. The preparation of the Regional Plan of Action was coordinated by the Climate Change Centre with funding and technical assistance provided by the Government of Australia and Australian Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

It is also anticipated that the meeting will serve as a vital forum to promote the signing of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy by Heads of Government of Caribbean member states.

Coral Reef Action PlanThe ministers will also be updated on the progress of technical activities being undertaken by the CRFM (the Secretariat, member states and network partners) and provide guidance on the way forward in coordinating the CRFM’s work in the region. They will discuss progress on initiatives to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the region and provide further direction to the countries and regional institutions to intensify efforts in this critical area.

The ministerial meeting’s agenda also calls for a look at the sustainable use and management of key fisheries resources in the region, as well as fisheries policy, legislation and institutional development. Ministers will also review current activities being undertaken through the CRFM’s Statistics and Information Programme, as well as human resource development and capacity-building activities. Finally, the Caribbean fisheries ministers will receive an update on projects and activities of strategic partners, as well as the CRFM’s work plan and budget for 2014-2016.