Description of the project:

From January 2013, CANARI, in collaboration with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies of the University of the West Indies (UWI-CERMES), Panos Caribbean, Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Associations (CNFO) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CFRM), has been implementing the Strengthening Caribbean Fisherfolk to Participate in Governance project, under its Coastal and Marine Livelihoods and Governance Programme.  The overall objective is to improve the contribution of the small scale fisheries sector to food security in the Caribbean through building the capacity of regional and national fisherfolk organisation networks to participate in governance.

The four year project is targeting the CNFO and fisherfolk organisations in the CARICOM/CRFM countries of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos.  The project is being funded by the European Union EuropeAid programme, and is being managed by the Delegation of the European Union to Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and for the Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories. The budget of the project is 1,032,099 euros.


  • In August 2016, The Strengthening Caribbean fisherfolk to participate in governance project and the Caribbean Fisherfolk Action Learning Group were featured as a vignette Strengthening Caribbean fisherfolk to participate in governance through the Fisherfolk Action Learning Group in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publication People in Nature: Valuing the diversity of interrelationships between people and nature.
  • Following on the call for proposals from fisherfolk organisations in the CARICOM region under the Fisherfolk Strengthening Fund in September 12 – October 31,  2015,  9 proposals  from fisherfolk organisations in 8 countries (Anguilla, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos) have been finalised, grant contracts signed, and the first set of funds disbursed to each organisation.
  • The project sponsored participation by two fisherfolk leaders from the CNFO to the 68th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference, Panama, November 9 – 13, 2015. Both fisherfolk leaders participated in the Fishers Forum, on the first day of the Conference, which had as its theme “Financing Fisherfolk”.

Key activities and results

  • Update the needs assessment. The literature review and informal interviews to identify the gaps that existed in the capacity of the fisherfolk organisations in the region to participate in governance in the fishing sector at both the national and regional levels was conducted in February – August 2013. The results were presented and validated at the Regional Fisherfolk Action Learning Group Workshop held in August 2013.
  • Establish a Fisherfolk Action Learning Group. The Caribbean Fisherfolk Action Learning Group (FFALG) was established to build a community of change agents from across the region that can lead, catalyse, facilitate and support effective participation of fisherfolk in governance and management of the small scale fisheries sector in the Caribbean. The Inception FFALG workshop was held on August 19 – 22, 2013, in Trinidad and Tobago, with the Second FFALG workshop being held on October 20 – 24, 2014, in The Bahamas,  and the Third FFALG workshop on October 5 – 8, 2015, in Antigua and Barbuda .  The FFALG is strengthening the capacity of the CNFO leadership in such areas as communication, negotiation and advocacy, so they can better represent their membership in such fora as the CRFM and Western Central Atlantic Fisheries Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organisation meetings. The final FFALG is seheduled to be held during the third week of October, 2016.
  • Establish a group of mentors. A group of mentors was established to provide support to local, national and regional fisherfolk organisations in the Caribbean islands to enable them to more effectively participate in fisheries governance and management. The First Regional Training of Trainers Workshop for Mentors  was held on November 19 – 22, 2013, in Saint Lucia while the Final Regional Training of Trainers Workshop for Fisherfolk Mentors was held on July 6 – 9, 2015, in Anguilla. CANARI conducted an evaluation of the fisherfolk mentoring arrangement during the second year of the project which  provided an opportunity to review  the mentors’ performance and obtain feedback on lessons learned. A final mentors’ check-in and evaluation is scheduled for June – August 2016.
  • Conduct national workshops in 8 project countries. During January to May 2014, the first set of National Fisherfolk Workshops were convened in Barbados, DominicaJamaicaSaint Lucia Vincent and the GrenadinesSuriname and Grenada respectively.  Among the objectives of the workshops were, to identify challenges to fisherfolk in the respective countries playing an effective role in fisheries governance; identify priorities for strengthening fisherfolk organisations; and identify opportunities for fisherfolk in these countries to address some of the challenges by getting involved in key national, regional and global policy and decision-making processes. The second set of National Fisherfolk Workshops were held during August to November 2015 in SurinameAnguillaBarbadosSaint LuciaSt. Vincent and the GrenadinesJamaica and Dominica. These workshops were aimed at sharing experiences in policy influencing and capacity building and identifying lessons learned;  identifying policy opportunities at the national, regional and international levels to address priority issues; developing communication messages to influence policy; improving knowledge of the basic principles of project cycle management and the importance of participatory monitoring and evaluation; and conducting a participatory evaluation of the Strengthening Caribbean Fisherfolk to Participate in Governance project. With  assistance of the mentors and through the National Fisherfolk Workshops,  fisherfolk leaders at the national and primary levels are being provided with the tools to analyse their problems;  identify the likely interventions in terms of capacity needs and policy influence; share experiences and identify lessons learned; and improve on their knowledge of project cycle management, including monitoring and evaluation. The second National Fisherfolk Workshop for Grenada will be held in the first week of July, 2016.
  • Facilitate participatory video workshops for policy influencing. CANARI, in partnership with Nature Seekers, held a series of workshops with the fisherfolk in the Matura to Matelot (M2M) Network of Trinidad and Tobago, in August 2014, to help them document common challenges in the fishing industry in north-east Trinidad and produce a participatory video Fishing for a living: North Coast facilities to bring about change. A participatory video exercise was also done as part of the Second Regional Workshop for the Caribbean Fisherfolk Action Learning Group, on October 23 – 24, in The Bahamas, to produce a video Catch, Kill, Destroy: Poaching The Bahamas Fisheries which highlights the views and positions of Bahamian fishers on Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (IUU fishing) in The Bahamas.
  • Support and facilitate participation of fisherfolk representatives in key regional decision-making meetings. Fisherfolk leader from the CNFO participated in the following events:

These activities provided fisherfolk leaders of the CNFO with opportunities to interact with key-decision makers, academics, fellow fisherfolk leaders and other stakeholders at the global and region levels to exchange information, build partnerships and influence the development of research agendas and policy in relation to fisheries governance.

  • CNFO Special Workshop. From August 25-26 members of the CNFO will meet in Trinidad and Tobago at a special workshop to undertake a critical assessment of the performance of the CNFO over the past nine years in order to extract key learning to apply in the development of an action plan.
  • Small grant facility. The small grants facility (now called the Fisherfolk Strengthening Fund) was made available to all fisherfolk organisations in the 17 CARICOM/CRFM countries to be used to strengthen their capacity to participate in governance. The Call for Applications under the Fund went out on September 12 and was opened to October 13, 2014, with an extension to October 31, 2014.  Sixteen (16) proposals were received from fisherfolk organisations (FFOs)  in 9 countries (Anguilla, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos).   Based on review by a panel made up of representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, UWI-CERMES, CNFO and CANARI, 11 of the 16 proposals were given conditional approval, with recommendations being made for improvements.  Following on a project review and refinement phase, approval was given for nine projects, with two projects from fisherfolk organisations in Trinidad and Tobago being combined, and three from fisherfolk organisations (FFOs) in Saint Lucia being refined into two stand-alone projects for the beneficiaries involved.  Nine proposals were approved for nine FFOs in eight countries (Anguilla, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos). The average grant award is approximately US$10,100, with the total grant funds being US$91,105. Following on a grant orientation exercise, contracts were finalised and signed, with the first tranche of funds being made available during November 2015 for project implementation.

Recent news and blogs

The Secretary, CNFO/Co-chair, World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), Nadine Nembhard, participated, in the Annual Coordinating Committee Meeting of the WFFP, from April 23-27, 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand.  The WFFP is a mass-based social movement of small-scale fisher people from across the world, founded on November 21, 1997. It was established in response to the increasing pressure being placed on small-scale fisheries, including habitat destruction, anthropogenic pollution and encroachment on small-scale fishing territories by the large scale fishing fleets, illegal fishing and overfishing.

One of the outcomes of the Meeting was a decision to participate in a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) meeting to review the findings of the Entebbe 2016: Advancing a global work programme for rights-based approaches for fisheries workshop, which was held in Uganda, in March 2016. The findings from the workshop will be used to advance the global work programme on Tenure and Rights-Based Approaches for Fisheries. The CNFO’s Coordinator, Mitchell Lay, participated in the Entebbe workshop.


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For more information, contact Terrence Phillips, Senior Technical Officer, at [email protected]

See related work under CANARI’s Coastal and Marine Livelihoods and GovernanceRural Livelihoodsand Capacity Building, programmes