BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 21, 2016–Eighteen professionals who have been working in Fisheries Management, Animal Health and Food Safety from across the CARIFORUM region, are currently overseas receiving specialized training in food safety and animal and plant health.
Endhir Sosa of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority is among the trainees attending the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Management Course, slated for 17-30 April 2016 in Reykjavik, Iceland, under the United Nations University – Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP).
The two-week course, developed by the UNU-FTP in partnership with the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), is exposing the selected trainees to the full range of issues faced in fisheries value chain management, with special focus on the best SPS standards and the institutional arrangements required for the optimized performance of the fishing industry.
Trainees will be involved not only in lecture sessions, but also in field visits to major Icelandic fishing companies, affording them a good opportunity to directly observe their operations.
They will also have an opportunity to speak with key professionals about industry practices which keep Iceland at the cutting edge of ‘fishing for profits’.
By the end of the course, trainees will have learned the ‘A to Z’ of the most up-to-date science and practical applications in fish product quality management along the value chain, including cleaning and sanitation in the field and processing plants, traceability, value chain analysis, risk assessment, and optimizing the use of available fishery resources.
Grenadines, who is participating in the training, said: “The first day of the session was quite fascinating. The presentation on ‘Handling and Storage of Fish and Fish Products’ gave me fresh ideas for scientific work which I can undertake during my fish processing activities using the fish species found back home. Moreover, learning about the different microbes that affect fish and their impacts on health and safety of fish products gave me a new outlook on the fishing industry. Today’s session also highlighted the impact of SPS measures on issues relative to international fish trade.”
At the close of the second day’s sessions, the Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer for Barbados, Ms. Joyce Leslie, expressed her satisfaction, saying: “The SPS Management Course was already delivering its promise of exposing trainees to the most up-to-date available information on science and technology developments in fish product quality management and value chain analysis.”
The training course has been made possible through the EU-funded SPS project, designed to help CARIFORUM countries fulfill international sanitary and phytosanitary standards, to boost foreign trade.
The UNU-FTP, which has worked previously with the CRFM to develop and deliver other types of short-term training courses suitable for Caribbean fisheries management situations, was awarded the contract to design and deliver this EU-sponsored SPS Management Course. Over the years, UNU-FTP has also trained fisheries professionals in CRFM Member States through its six-month training programme in Iceland.
The SPS Project is a major intervention approved under the 10th European Development Fund Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes (10th EDF CRIP), being implemented by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat and the CRFM. The CRFM is responsible for delivering the fisheries component.