Fisheries Ministers from across Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), will engage in a year-long celebration in 2023, to observe the 20th anniversary of the CRFM.
The celebration will showcase the vital contributions of fisheries and aquaculture to the regional and national economies, and to food and nutrition security, livelihoods, job creation, trade, and blue economic growth, a release from the Belize-based entity states.
In their deliberations on October 7, the Ministerial Council of the CRFM also took some important decisions to, among other things, advance small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the region in collaboration with fisherfolk organizations as well as regional and international development partners and donors.
In a Ministerial statement, the Ministers noted that 2023 will mark 20 years since the CRFM was officially inaugurated as a specialized, inter-governmental CARICOM Regional Institution to “promote and facilitate the responsible utilization of the region’s fisheries and other aquatic resources for the economic and social benefits of the current and future population of the region.”
In this regard, the Ministerial Council said it reaffirms its full support for the CRFM@20 Action Plan and calls upon the CRFM Secretariat, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the CARICOM Secretariat and their regional and international development partners and donors to support its implementation.
The Ministers note that the CRFM’s 20th anniversary campaign “will focus on the CRFM’s achievements over the past two decades and inspire a fresh vision for the future of the fisheries and aquaculture sector, while seizing new opportunities for maximizing the benefits of the Blue Economy for sustainable development of our countries and the welfare of our people”.
The Fisheries Ministers said they “underscore the important value of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the regional and national economies of CARICOM, and the critical importance of its contributions towards achieving the mandate issued by the CARICOM Heads of Government at the Thirty-third Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference, to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25% by 2025”.
They also emphasize the sector’s unique role in sustainably harnessing the vast and diverse wealth of the Blue Economy. “This unparalleled value of the sector will be brought into focus during the CRFM’s anniversary celebrations, with special emphasis on sustainable livelihoods and employment, food security and nutrition, and domestic and foreign trade,” the Ministerial statement also says.
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) was officially inaugurated on March 27, 2003 in Belize City, Belize, where it is headquartered, following the signing of the “Agreement Establishing the CRFM” on February 4, 2002.