Fisheries stakeholders in Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will have the opportunity for stronger dialogue, under a newly initiated, regional project which aims to tangibly fortify their capacity to contribute to the development of policy directed at improving fisheries earnings and raising the standards of living of fisher folk.
The CRFM had approached the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation ACP-EU (CTA) a few months ago, for support to implement the new CRFM Communication Strategy, which seeks to increase the use of information and communication technology to, among other things, boost efficiency and productivity in the fisheries sector.
In line with that request, the CTA has awarded a Euro 84,817 (USD112,480) contract to the CRFM. The one-year agreement provides for policy dialogue on fisheries issues in the Caribbean through the use of online knowledge platform.
CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton signed for the Caribbean organisation, while CTA Director Michael Hailu signed on behalf of the donor.
In inking the agreement, CRFM and the CTA acknowledged that there is the need for further discussion beyond face-to-face meetings on Blue economic issues – exploring ways to bring abundance to the region out of existing resources.
However, they noted, launching an electronic policy dialogue of this nature is a challenge, and therefore, stakeholders will be encouraged to make use of online media, including e-mail, to animate the policy dialogue.
The project will, more specifically, give attention to the need for enhancing the limited communication and advocacy skills of fisher folk and other stakeholders.
A two-day meeting will engage stakeholders in the use of Dgroups, the starting point for groups and communities in international development. Electronic discourse through the use of Web 2.0 tools and social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, will also be promoted as a means of further advancing stakeholder dialogue across virtual space.
The electronic discourse will feed into key stakeholder documents to be presented to Caribbean policy makers.
The CRFM-CTA agreement specifies that this new project forms part of a broader sub-project to support the continued policy dialogue on issues raised in the Brussels Briefing on Small island economies held in April 2012.
Fourteen Caribbean countries will directly benefit from the project, since all CRFM members–except for Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands–are also ACP participating states.
Fisheries policy makers, Caribbean fisher folk, fisher folk organisations in the region, Fisheries Departments and Divisions are among those who the project aims to target.
The CRFM-CTA initiative is expected to bolster the institutional capacities of the CRFM and other beneficiaries at the regional, national and community levels.
The CTA is also supporting a regional project to develop the Caribbean Network of Fisher Folk Organisations.