One of six workshops among African, Caribbean and Pacific countries is taking place at the Biltmore Plaza. Personnel involved in fisheries management from the ACP are reviewing the progress of numerous fisheries programs and the sustainability of the sector. Three million Euros or more than six point seven million Belize dollars will be spent in the Caribbean by the European Development Fund to implement twenty-three fisheries projects. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports about what is called ACP Fish Two.
Delahnie Bain, Reporting
Fisheries administrators and regional organizations from fifteen African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries are involved in a two day workshop to discuss the future of the ACP Fish II Program.
Sandra Grant, Regional Mgr., ACP Fish II, Regional Facilitation Unit, Belize
“The ACP Fish II Program is a program financed under the ninth European Development Fund, aimed at strengthening Fisheries management in ACP countries. The overall objective of the program is to contribute to the sustainable and equitable management of fisheries, thus leading to poverty alleviation and improving food security in ACP states.”
John Purvis, Fisheries Policy Expert, ACP Fish II, Coordination Unit, Brussels
“As a program, the focus is on the Development and implementation of Fisheries Policies and also supporting member states to tackle illegal fishing and trading; the two priorities of the program. As was mentioned earlier also, participation is very important to the program’s success and this meeting is another chance for you to participate not only in planning program activities but also monitoring progress of those activities.”
The European funded project started in June 2009 and is now at an important phase; getting projects off the ground throughout the region.
“Projects are now being implemented and it is the duty of the focal points gathered here today to review the status of the projects that are being implemented, to share our experiences, to learn the lessons and then to formulate plans for projects to be implemented in phase two.”
“The ACP Fish II Program aims to strengthen Fisheries Management in all ACP states and in an effort to achieve the objective of the program; the European Commission has allocated around three million Euros to support the ACP states. So whilst being an ACP wide program, we operate through six regional facilitation units, one of which is based here in Belize City.”
Milton Haughton, Deputy Executive Director, CRFM
“The CRFM for its part, is currently engaged in the implementation of a number of projects and initiatives, which are focused on the provision of improved information for planning and decision making, strengthening the human institutional and policy frameworks and enhanced mechanisms for closer cooperation among our countries.”
The workshop is considered very timely and the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Gabino Canto, outlined some local concerns that need to be addressed.
Gabino Canto, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
“The positive socio-economic outlook provided by the fisheries sector is threatened by the lack of definitive plans and policies due to gaps in the knowledge base of the abundance and distribution of fisheries resources as well as market opportunities and market requirements. Other pertinent challenges include the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as meeting the quality assurance requirements, particularly of the export market for fishery products.”
The ACP Fish II program is to run for four and a half years; ending in November 2013. Delahnie Bain for News Five.
The workshop is being attended by representatives from the ACP countries and four regional organizations including the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organization.