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CRFM and partners to unlock the full potential of Caribbean fisheries

Belize City, Thurs. Dec. 17, 2015–Some fear that climate change and global economic pressures will create a toxic mix that would cripple the potential of the Caribbean fisheries and aquaculture sector, but a new initiative being implemented by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is looking for that “golden key” that would, instead, unlock the industry’s hidden potential for all concerned; thus improving the contribution of fisheries to the region’s economic development. This should ensure that both suppliers and buyers have more money in their pockets, as they keep the resource base on a healthy and sustainable footing.

A newly launched project will over the next year bring together key public and private actors in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, to optimize the benefits across the value chain – from the fishers who set their traps to reap the ocean’s bounty to the buyers who search for the most economical catch to serve up an impressive meal.

Towards this end, the CRFM led a planning meeting in Grenada from 7-9 December 2015 to jumpstart the organization of a regional training and capacity building workshop on the Value Chain Approach in Caribbean Fisheries. The workshop will take place in July 2016.

The initiative is geared towards building capacity among key government and private sector representatives, and in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in fisheries and aquaculture, to use the value chain approach to optimize economic benefits. The value chain approach looks at every operational level in the industry, including production, processing, distribution on the local and export markets, as well as marketing and sales to wholesale agents and retail buyers.

Chief or Senior Fisheries Officers and private sector representatives from the 17 CRFM Member States will have an opportunity to participate in the training, which will be delivered by the CRFM, UNU-FTP, and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Food and Agriculture, at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago campus.

Personnel from the CRFM, UWI, UNU-FTP, the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) in Trinidad and Tobago; the University of Iceland, and the University of Akureyri in Iceland are part of the planning team which is developing the course program and follow-up activities.

Last week, the team began discussions to formulate the course outline and content, identify the status of supply and value chains in the region, and discuss the data available in the region that is necessary to conduct a value chain analysis. The team will also develop representative case studies, as well as training material and a manual for use in the regional training workshop.

The industry-oriented training will be followed by the development of short-term and medium-term action plans for implementation of the value chain in selected pilot studies within CRFM Member States.

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