Dr Carla Barnett, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has called on fisheries stakeholders to invest more in research and innovation so that countries in the Region can gain maximum benefits from marine living resources.
In opening remarks to the 20th Anniversary Scientific Conference of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) held virtually on Monday 28 August, the Secretary General said that applying knowledge and technology in fisheries and aquaculture will help to create value from unutilized or underutilized marine living resources.
“The health of the coastal and marine ecosystems, and the well-being of our people, are integrally connected,” she emphasized. “We need to better understand the complexity of our marine ecosystems and enhance their economic and social contribution to our communities and countries that depend on them.”
She called on fisheries stakeholders to work together to make use of the best available scientific data and information to guide decisions about fisheries development and conservation.
Dr Barnett also highlighted the numerous obstacles and setbacks that the Caribbean’s fisheries sector continues to experience. “Climate change, ocean acidification; overfishing; pollution; the invasive pacific lionfish; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, all place immense pressure on our marine fisheries and ecosystems. They also threaten the jobs and livelihoods of fisherfolk and the food security of our people,” the CARICOM CEO outlined.
She noted the valuable efforts of the CRFM, and its predecessor, the CARICOM Fisheries Resource Assessment and Management Programme (CFRAMP), to nurture a sustainable sector and empower fisherfolk to participate in regional planning and decision-making.
“The CRFM’s work has advanced CARICOM’s agenda for the Region, including our strategic focus on developing our women and young people,” she said.
Read the full text of the Secretary General’s remarks here.
About the CRFM
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is a CARICOM institution established in 2003 to promote and facilitate responsible usage of the region’s fisheries and other aquatic resources. The 20th Anniversary Scientific Conference convenes from 28 – 31 August 2023.
Visit the conference website here.