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Belize to host high-level fisheries meeting #445667
09/01/12 07:49 AM
09/01/12 07:49 AM
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Belize will host a historic, high-level ministerial meeting that will see as many as 25 countries from two regional fisheries organizations -- tasked to promote cooperation and policy coordination in addressing trans-boundary fisheries matters -- convene in Belize City, from Monday, September 3 to Tuesday, September 4, 2012, as they chart a comprehensive course for future collaborative action.

The joint meeting will bring together 17 CARICOM member and associated member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), and 7 members of the Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA), joined by the Dominican Republic as an associate member.

“The similar mandates and objectives of both organizations highlight the potential benefits of sharing scientific knowledge and experiences related to research, resource management, and policy coordination in fisheries and aquaculture development,” CRFM organizers said.

They added, “Strengthening collaboration between these two regional fisheries organizations would improve conservation, management and sustainable development of the shared living marine resources of the Caribbean Sea.”

Belize, the host country for the CRFM Secretariat, is the common link between CRFM and OSPESCA: it is the only country that has membership in both regional bodies, and it has been charged with playing a key role in leading this process forward.

In a joint declaration, heads of state and government of both Central American and Caribbean countries that met at the 3rd CARICOM-SICA Summit in San Salvador, El Salvador, last August, called on Belize to host the first high-level ministerial meeting of CRFM-OSPESCA, aimed at strengthening collaboration between both regional fisheries organizations.

"Belize as a country is best positioned to bring the member countries of OSPESCA and CRFM together to discuss issues related to the development and management of the fisheries sector,” said Belize’s Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Lisel Alamilla. “We share a common resource in the Wider Caribbean region and therefore must foster a common understanding for cooperation in the responsible development of this sector, in maintaining its place as a significant contributor to our national economies and in the livelihoods of our people.”

Alamilla also underscored the region’s commitment to the further development of its fisheries and coastal resources for the greatest benefits of citizens.

The participants of the upcoming high-level meeting will discuss pressing matters such as fisheries and aquaculture development across all 25 states; illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing; climate change impacts on marine ecosystems and fishing communities; and a coordinated approach to the management of the lionfish and other invasive marine.

The first day of the meeting will center on technical discussions by vice-ministers/permanent secretaries and directors of fisheries/chief fisheries officers from the CARICOM and SICA member states. Participants will develop a statement of outcome, identifying priority areas and modalities for strengthening the partnership and advancing the interests of the CARICOM and SICA member states.

On the second and final day of the event, the ministers responsible for fisheries will review and adopt the statement of outcome. More specifically, the ministers will develop an action plan and strategy for the new CRFM-OSPESCA collaboration.

Participants will advance discussions on common interests between CRFM and OSPESCA in fisheries and aquaculture and will furthermore formulate and formalize a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to solidify the CRFM-OSPESCA collaboration.

Observers from interested regional and international organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the University of the West Indies (UWI), Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Project (CLME), and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations (CNFO), have been invited to attend this milestone event.

Caribbean News Now

Re: Belize to host high-level fisheries meeting [Re: Marty] #445822
09/04/12 07:31 AM
09/04/12 07:31 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 62,051
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Regional fisheries experts meet in Belize

Fisheries meeting in Belize

Two regional organizations are converging in Belize City for what has been deemed as a historic high level meeting. Reporter Patrick Jones and Videographer Brian Castillo headed off to the Belize Biltmore Plaza hotel and bring you the details in the following report


Re: Belize to host high-level fisheries meeting [Re: Marty] #445897
09/05/12 06:49 AM
09/05/12 06:49 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 62,051
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Marty Online happy OP

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Unregulated fishing a key concern for Central America and the Caribbean

Fisheries officials meet

Ministers of Fisheries from Central America and the Caribbean are meeting today in Belize City. The purpose of the historic first meeting of the two sub-regions at this ministerial level is to discuss the sustainable use of the resources of the Caribbean Sea. Chairman of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism V. Alfred Gray of the Bahamas told reporters this morning that he is encouraged that the two regions have taken up the challenge to address this vital issue.

According to statistics published in time for today’s meeting, the fisheries sector in the CARICOM region employs over one hundred and eighty two thousand persons either directly or indirectly. But that pales in comparison to the multi-billion dollar problem of unregulated and illegal fishing which affects both Central American and the Caribbean. Belize’s Minister of Fisheries Senator Lisel Alamilla believes the coming together of both sub regions is a positive step in the right direction so far as addressing this problem is concerned.

An expected outcome of the meeting of Ministers of Fisheries of Central America and the Caribbean was a joint declaration and an action plan on the way forward in the sustainable use of the marine resources in the Caribbean Sea.


Re: Belize to host high-level fisheries meeting [Re: Marty] #445965
09/06/12 06:48 AM
09/06/12 06:48 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 62,051
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Marty Online happy OP

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New Regional Fisheries Collaboration between CRFM-OSPESCA Solidified

Over 60 high-level delegates from 19 countries spanning the Central American and Caribbean regions concluded a milestone meeting in Belize on Tuesday evening with a comprehensive roadmap for collective action in tackling their biggest obstacles in fisheries and aquaculture. According to Milton Haughton, CRFM Executive Director, “the long term objective of the of the partnership between the CRFM and OPSESCA is to secure a brighter and more prosperous future for our fishing communities that rely on the marine resources for their livelihoods, and ensuring that the fish stocks are able, through prudent management, to make enhanced contribution to the social and economic development of our countries now and in the future.”

The event was the first joint meeting to bring together as many countries to discuss the plight of their shared marine resources and the uphill battle in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which knows no borders. One major outcome of the cross-regional meeting was the signing of the Belize Declaration on Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Central America Fisheries and Aquaculture Organisation (Spanish acronym OSPESCA) Cooperation for Sustainable Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources. The CRFM and OSPESCA are the regional agents for the harmonisation of fisheries management and development efforts across 24 states. “We are delighted to partnership in ensuring that countries around the Caribbean and indeed the Central and South American region have seen the wisdom of getting together and pooling resources in order to protect what we consider to be a very important part of our countries’ very existence,” said V. Alfred Gray, chair of the CRFM's Ministerial Council, and Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government of the Bahamas.

Gray expressed optimism that "bigger and better things" would come out of the Belize meeting: "So out of this conference,” he said. “I am hoping that each of us as countries, each of us as individuals, will be ready to take on the challenges which we face collectively in protecting that which we believe is so important for fisher folk and indeed our countries’ revenue resources.” “One of the difficult issues we will be considering during this meeting is the issue of IUU fishing, as we have already heard," said CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton.

He explained that IUU fishing, which he described as “a serious global problem,” is fishing carried out in contravention of the rules for fisheries management, misreporting catches or not reporting at all, and the use of illegal fishing rear and illegal fishing techniques. “Recent reports put the global value of catches taken by IUU fishing as high as 9 billion dollars per year. IUU fishing does not respect national boundaries.

It puts unsustainable pressure on fish stocks and marine habitats and distorts markets. It imposes significant economic costs on countries such as ours with limited capacity and it also corrupts and undermines governance structures," said Haughton. "We must therefore redouble our efforts to eradicate the scourge of IUU fishing from our region.” Haughton also spoke of the need to harmonise coordinated approaches for the conservation, management and sustainable use of trans-boundary fish stocks; namely tunas, lobster, conch.

Belize, the only country which belongs to both regions, is an important player in the process. Lisel Alamlla, Belize Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, said: "We are interested in collaborating with all the countries to ensure the best use and best management of our fisheries resources." Helping the diverse nations spanning Central America and the Caribbean to succeed at this task despite their differences is the job Belize is best suited for: “We can advance and support building trust between the regions, and I think that is the opportunity that Belize has and the responsibility that it has, really,” Alamilla added.

Danilo Rosales Pichardo, pro-tem chair of OSPESCA and Vice President of the Nicaraguan Institute of Fisheries, said he is happy that Belize has brought together both sub-regions to address the challenges that they collectively face, and they will address them, he said, “poco a poco” or “bit by bit.” The CRFM-OSPESCA collaborative work, said Rosales Pichardo, will be addressed via a phased approach, and the action plan coming out of this meeting will guide the way forward.

“It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step," Alamilla asserted. "In my opinion, I believe that what we have accomplished thus far, and what we are expected to accomplish in terms of the Belize declaration and the accompanying action plan and an MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] to formalise the process can best be characterised as a great leap forward for the sustainable development of our people and the fishery resources of [the] CARICOM sub-region as well as [the] SICA sub-region.”

The 18 countries which signed the Belize declaration are: Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turks & Caicos. Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti and Suriname were not represented by their ministers at the meeting and did not sign the declaration. International partners from ACP Fish II, The Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Project, the SICA (Central American Integration and CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Secretariats, as well as visitors from the FAO in Rome were among the observers. Belize fishermen's cooperative reps also attended the event.


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