CARICOM and Japan celebrate 20 years of cooperation in fisheries
Japan’s fisheries cooperation with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has spanned two decades. Following several country seminars held over the past few weeks, the celebration of this milestone — 20 years of friendship and cooperation in fisheries — will climax this week, when senior fisheries experts of member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and Japan meet in Trinidad and Tobago.
On that occasion, the development allies will reflect on the achievements of their partnership, as well as Japan-funded fisheries projects executed to date in the region.
The regional fisheries experts will also discuss and identify future interventions that could be submitted to Japan for funding consideration, especially in light of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy and the CARICOM Strategic Plan, both recently adopted for the region.
The celebratory review of CARICOM’s fisheries cooperation with Japan will form part of an upcoming regional fisheries workshop that opens on Thursday in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Jairam Seemungal, minister of land and marine resources, will deliver the feature address at the event, being organized under the auspices of the CRFM, CARICOM and Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year 2014. Yoshimasa Tezuka, Japan’s ambassador to Trinidad, and Milton Haughton, executive director of the CRFM Secretariat, are also scheduled to deliver remarks at the event.
“We, the Members of CARICOM, recognize the long and exemplary tradition and commitment of Japan in the sustainable use, conservation and management of the living marine resources for sustainable development and improving the well-being and livelihood of people, particularly the poor and vulnerable members of our countries,” Haughton said, in commenting on the upcoming workshops.
The CRFM executive director praised the outstanding contribution and leadership role of Japan at the international level in promoting sustainable fisheries and building capacity of developing states towards this goal, not only in the Caribbean states but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific.
“The CRFM is very pleased to be associated with this event. Japan, like most of the CARICOM states, is surrounded by seas and oceans, from which people derived innumerable benefits in the form of food, jobs, transportation, information, culture, and recreation,” Haughton added.
On the day following the regional fisheries workshop to review CARICOM-Japan fisheries cooperation, the parties will also host a meeting to review the progress of the Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management (CARIFICO) Project which commenced implementation in May 2013 through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Workshop participants will also determine ways in which implementation of CARIFICO can be advanced.
Under the Japan-funded CARIFICO project, fisheries stakeholders in some Caribbean countries have been harnessing increased catches and strengthening monitoring and management of pelagic fisheries through the deployment of fish aggregating devices (FADs).
“Today, as the threats and challenges posed by global warming, climate change, ocean acidification, and sea level rise, along with marine pollution, and overfishing intensify, we have to review and strengthen our efforts and alliances to conserve, protect and better utilize our coastal and marine resources for sustainable development, with special focus on creating a better future for our fishers and coastal communities that depend on the living marine resources for food security and livelihoods,” Haughton concluded.