A NEW REPORT on the value of queen conch in three OECS countries aims to open new economic opportunities for fishers and other stakeholders, a release from the OECS states.
The queen conch production volumes for Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, when combined, represent over 15% of Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) queen conch production.
The sub-regional organisation said several opportunities exist for stakeholders nationally and regionally to collaborate to improve sustainability and enhance value earned by producers through accessing external markets, increasing the use of conch by-products, and sharing the costs of data collection.
The detailed findings in the newly published report under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission’s Blue BioTrade Project maps stakeholders of the queen conch value chains of the three participating OECS Member States. The Blue BioTrade Project intends to seize the trade and business potential of Blue BioTrade products for promoting sustainable livelihoods and conservation of marine biodiversity in selected OECS countries. This report lays the groundwork for future case studies on the queen conch value chains in the three project countries, and the eventual development of a Blue BioTrade action plan. The information in these publications is intended to support the development of the sustainable Blue Economy in the OECS, and will also contribute to the finalisation of the Revised Regional Agricultural Plan of Action which charts the agricultural development of the region for the next decade, the release emphasises.
Aside from the key objective to mainstream the interconnected values and benefits of ecologically healthy, well-managed marine and coastal habitats, the intended outcomes of this project aim to ensure that: Stakeholders have enhanced capacity to identify sustainable business opportunities and formulate joint actions to apply Blue BioTrade principles in the queen conch value chain.
Small-scale coastal producers in beneficiary countries benefit from enhanced sustainable production and trade opportunities in the queen conch value chain Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean Dr. Didacus Jules says: “It is important that we in the Eastern Caribbean embrace our identities as Large Ocean States and explore the opportunities that come along with it. This mapping is an important step in creating meaningful opportunities for our people by building our resilience through sustainably harnessing our available natural assets.”
The Blue BioTrade initiative is financed by the European Union’s 11th Economic Development Fund (EDF) through the Regional Integration through Growth, Harmonisation and Technology (RIGHT) Project, and is jointly implemented by the OECS Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This pilot project aims to test the revised UNCTAD BioTrade Principles and criteria which aim to promote trade and investment in marine biological resources in line with social, economic and environmental sustainability criteria. This pilot represents one of the first applications of this approach globally to the marine environment.