Published On: Fri, Sep 9th, 2016

Caribbean fisherfolk look to the future

cnfo_workshopPORT OF SPAIN - Leaders of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) met at a two-day performance and planning workshop to discuss and critically assess the CNFO’s performance since its formation almost ten years ago.

They were joined in this exercise by representatives from partner organisations the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Fisheries Division, Trinidad and Tobago, Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies of the University of the West Indies (UWI-CERMES) and Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI).

The CNFO is a network of small-scale fisherfolk organisations operating in the CARICOM region, with its mission being to improve the quality of life for fisherfolk and develop a sustainable and profitable industry through networking, representation and capacity building.

Until June 28, 2016, when the CNFO became a registered non-governmental organisation in Belize, the organisation has been operating as an informal network. Among its achievements, the CNFO has been able to develop strong partnerships with many regional and global fisheries and related entities, through which it has been able to mobilise resources for development of the organisation and its members, and influence the development of fisheries-related policies.

The organisation is engaged as a partner in the delivery of a number of regional capacity building projects such as the Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network and the Strengthening Caribbean Fisherfolk to Participate in Governance projects. The CNFO has also been participating in various policy influencing fora such as the annual meetings of the CRFM’s Caribbean Fisheries Forum and the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) Conference. It recently took part in the Sixth Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF6), in August 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand.

One of the key outputs from the performance and planning workshop was the development of a CNFO action plan that addresses three priority areas identified during the assessment – governance and management, advocacy and communication, and capacity building.

Executive director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton, noted that “the CNFO has come a long way and achieved a lot.”

He encouraged the members of the Organisation to continue to be engaged in addressing issues that are affecting the livelihoods of fisherfolk, highlighting in particular the importance of improving the standard of living of Caribbean fisherfolk especially in light of the foreseeable challenges associated with climate change and variability.

The workshop, which was held in Chaguaramas, Trinidad, from August 25-26, 2016, was convened under the European Union funded (€1,03m) Strengthening Caribbean Fisherfolk to Participate in Governance (SCFPG) project.

The SCFPG project is targeting the CNFO and its member organisations in the CARICOM/CRFM countries of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos.

The project is aimed at improving the contribution of the small-scale fisheries sector to food security in these countries through building the capacity of regional and national fisherfolk organisation networks to participate in fisheries governance and management. It is being implemented by CANARI, working in partnership with UWI-CERMES, Panos Caribbean, CNFO and CRFM.

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