For Immediate Release

Port of Spain, March 26, 2019 – Co-management approaches with the involvement of people who fish and sell and use fish up the value chain (fisherfolk) in regional fisheries governance is important to the sustainability of small-scale fisheries, the livelihoods of fisherfolk and coastal communities.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) issued a joint statement on this at a technical meeting of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), held March 25-26 in Barbados.  The meeting explored establishment of a regional fisheries management entity or arrangement to enhance cooperation on issues like enhancing scientific information for management, and addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.  The meeting was attended by 45 participants from 25 WECAFC Member States, as well as 12 observers/partner organisations (including CANARI and CNFO), eight international experts and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, which serves as the secretariat for WECAFC.

CANARI and CNFO stated, “We are concerned that the farther away fishers are from decisions made, the greater the negative impacts are on small scale fisheries and livelihoods of fishers and their communities.  We emphasise that management measures must be in context and should not use a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

Some governmental participants at the meeting also highlighted the successes of co-management approaches that have brought fisherfolk on as partners and resulted in improved fisheries and economic benefits.

Significantly, recommendations from the meeting noted that a regional fisheries management entity or arrangement to strengthen cooperation would need to include attention to co-management.

While both organisations recognised and commended existing commitments, policies and practice of WECAFC Member States for effective engagement of fisherfolk and other stakeholders in fisheries governance and management, they called for participatory approaches to become “deeply embedded” in the process for addressing this complex matter.

“We would therefore like to recommend, and indeed urge, that the current WECAFC process towards strengthening regional collaboration includes specific attention to enhancement and development of mechanisms for effective engagement of fisherfolk and other stakeholders.”

Both CNFO and CANARI expressed their willingness to work with WECAFC Member States to help develop mechanisms for effective engagement of fisherfolk and other stakeholders ahead of the 17th WECAFC meeting and for discussions beyond that, towards strengthening regional collaboration.

Please see link to full original statement here: http://bit.ly/2CGTQ1Q

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For further information, please contact: Nicole Leotaud, Executive Director, CANARI at nicole@canari.org or call: +868 638 6062