Draft text on common fisheries policy approved at workshop

Stakeholders have agreed on the text of the draft agreement on the establishment of a CARICOM Common Fisheries Policy, following eight years of sometimes difficult negotiations, the CARICOM Secretariat at Turkeyen said in a release.

The agreement came at the conclusion of a Multi-Disciplinary Workshop on the CARICOM Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in Georgetown, last week.

The workshop from April 12-14 was funded by the European Union (EU) under the Ninth EDF for the strengthening of fisheries management in ACP countries, and was organized by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

The release noted that the CRFM is a regional fisheries organization established by CARICOM member states in 2003, following a mandate by CARICOM Heads of Government in the same year, for the elaboration of a Common Fisheries Policy and Regime for the region. It is responsible for promoting sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources in and among member states by developing, managing and conserving these resources in collaboration with stakeholders for the benefit of the people of the Caribbean.

According to the release, the forum brought together senior fisheries, legal and foreign affairs officers, supported by regional development partners such as the Network of Regional Fisher-Folk Organisations, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat. Meanwhile, the workshop has recommended the draft agreement to the CRFM Ministerial Council for consideration at its Fourth Meeting scheduled for May  20 in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda.

From the Ministerial Council, the agreement will be presented to the Council for Trade and Economic Development and the CARICOM Legal Affairs Committee, then to the Conference of Heads of Government for consideration and approval.

The CFP will afford CARICOM member states the opportunity for structured collaboration and cooperation in the conservation, management and use of their living marine and aquatic resources, and will allow for an orderly and predictable approach to the terms for entry by Third States in the Common Fisheries Zone. In addition, the policy will provide member states with the opportunity to establish sub-regional arrangements for the management of fishing stocks of interest to them, and which are currently not subject to any management regime.

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