FAD project aims  to improve fisheries sector regionally
December 13, 2013
FAD project aims to improve fisheries sector regionally

Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) was the topic of discussion this week, as representatives from across the region gathered here to discuss the progress and challenges of the newly implemented project.{{more}}

Through the initiative of various entities, a three-day FAD fishery management workshop was held at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown. In fisheries sectors across the Caribbean, FADs are being used to attract fish, including the blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and the blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus).

Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Industry, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation Raymond Ryan stated that fisheries resources are very important in securing food for local consumption, as well as providing lucrative commercial commodities for the people of the Caribbean.

Additionally, Ryan cited that the fisheries sector is the third largest provider of employment in the region, after tourism and agriculture.

“In fact, fisheries employ approximately 2,500 persons; that is six per cent of the workforce in St Vincent and the Grenadines and over two million persons in the Caribbean region,” he said. “Moreover, the fisheries resources are important for the diet of the population and are particularly a valuable source of animal protein”.

As a result of the Government’s thrust to achieve zero hunger, the Permanent Secretary noted that the fisheries sector will play a critical role in that goal.

“Sustainable management of fisheries is therefore essential, not only at the national level, but at the regional level. As we are aware, the diversification of coastal fisheries using FADs has great potential…and can be used as a tool to involve fishers and their organizations in the sustainable use of large pelagic fishery resources,” Ryan said.

In his remarks, Ryan stressed the importance of properly managed and regulated use of FADs within the region, as unregulated excessive use of these devices may result in the “over exploitation of large pelagic fishes which could reduce the economic advantage of having such devices.”

He continued to outline a variety of measures that can be put in place for proper management of these devices.

“Fisheries policy, resource management plans and budget structures must be properly developed and put in place at the national and regional levels for the coastal pelagic and other shared resources. To address this issue, a multi- national master plan for fisheries resource management and development, which highlights the need for public sector/private sector partnership must be developed and implemented.

“While the co-management approach provides an opportunity to achieve…the desired partnerships in the fisheries sector, we must be cognizant, however that important co management conditions are necessary for successful management of fisheries,” Ryan said.

Representatives of National Fisheries Authorities from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago were present at the workshop.

The workshop was a joint initiative of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Caribbean Network of Fisheries Organization (CNFO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the French Institute for Ocean Research (IFREMER), UN-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/WECAFC; UWI, University of Florida.

Remarks were also delivered by Milton Haughton, executive director for CRFM secretariat, Emmanuel Thouard, director of IFREMER for the Antilles and Akiko Oda Minami, representative of JICA.(BK)