Reports from 2017 Caribbean Fisheries Meetings

 

School of Menhaden

Report of the first meeting of the regional working group on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; Barbados, March 1-2, 2017

The 52 participating experts, representing 21 WECAFC Members, were presented with and discussed many aspects of IUU fishing. This first meeting contributed to: 1) increasing awareness and understanding of the IUU fishing problem in the Caribbean region; and 2) increasing capacity for a more effective collaboration in preventing, deterring and eliminating IUU fishing in the Caribbean region, with emphasis on experiences from other regions with vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) supporting measures, as well as on international and regional instruments to combat IUU fishing, such as the 2009 FAO Port State Measures Agreement.The meeting also finalized and agreed on its ToRs and work plan for the 2017–2018 RWG-IUU period, to be endorsed by CRFM and WECAFC, and discussed elements to be included in a Regional Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing (RPOA-IUU).

PDF URLs:http://www.fao.org/3/I8292B/i8292b.pdf
Card URLs: http://www.fa.org/documents/card/en/c/I8292B
 
School of Menhaden

WECAFC- Report of the Third Regional Workshop on Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation of the WECAFC/ OSPESCA/ CRFM/ CFMC Working Group on Recreational Fisheries; Barbados, April 4-6, 2017

The Third Regional Workshop on Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation of the WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM/CFMC Working Group on Recreational Fisheries was held in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 4 to 6 April 2017. Thirty-five representatives from thirteen Caribbean countries and territories, along with various organizations and projects, attended the workshop. Information about the values represented by billfish stocks in the Caribbean was presented and discussed in pursuit of solutions to increase the value of these resources for the Caribbean states. Successful billfish capture and stock value conservation examples were presented and discussed, as were the policy, legislative and management contexts within which billfish fisheries currently takes place in the region. The latest stock assessment data were presented, which illustrated stock declines and the current level of fisheries pressure on the stocks. A third draft of the Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation Plan was discussed, as was the draft Subregional FAD Management Plan. Business case opportunities sought through the Caribbean Billfish Project were also clarified. A draft WECAFC management recommendation was prepared by the Working Group, recognizing the concerns over billfish stock status, the current fisheries pressure on these stocks and proposing regional concerted action. Participants revised the Terms of Reference pertaining to the Working Group on Recreational Fisheries, updated the work plan and elected its convener. The workshop was carried out under the guidance and supervision of the FAO Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) with support of the Caribbean Billfish Project GCP/SLC/001/WBK.

PDF URLs: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/I8243B
Card URLs: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/I8243B
 
FIRMS WECAFC
 

FIRMS-WECAFC Report of the Regional Workshop on Recreational Fisheries Statistics in the Caribbean; Bahamas, June 20-22, 2017

There is a need to develop recreational fisheries data collection and fishery statistics capacities in the Caribbean. Improving nations’ abilities to inform the sustainable management of valuable fish stocks, through robust data analyses, will yield socio-economic dividends for current and future citizens. The Caribbean Billfish Project seeks to improve regional recreational fishery data collection and analysis capacities in order to inform the ongoing improvements to the management of billfish and other stocks at national and regional levels.The workshop brought together 38 representatives from 13 Caribbean countries and overseas territories’ fisheries departments, regional fisheries bodies, fisheries technical advisory institutions, non-governmental organizations, various fishery statistics specialists and other relevant stakeholders. Participants’ knowledge of regional fishery data challenges and their capacities to address these challenges effectively were developed over the course of the workshop.Within the Caribbean, recreational fisheries currently represent a largely untapped resource for valuable data capture. This fishery subsector is very capable of providing invaluable data to genuinely inform effective fisheries management. However, national fishery authorities tend to either not recognize the opportunity, or struggle to engage effectively with this fishery sector for data capture. This workshop emphasized the opportunities at hand for citizen science, holistic fisheries data capture and management, and described effective data collection and analysis methodologies from other regions. Participants then prioritized the regional data collection needs collectively, from both recreational and artisanal fleets, and agreed on technicalities for digital data systems applications – including the use of SmartForms, a pilot version of which is expected to be implemented during the Caribbean Billfish Project.

PDF URLs: http://www.fao.org/3/i8241en/I8241EN.pdf
Card URLs: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/I8241EN/
   
School of Menhaden

Report of the second meeting of the regional working group on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; Barbados, September 19-21, 2017.

35 fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) officers, fisheries managers and other experts from 16 WECAFC members participated in this 2nd meeting of the RWG-IUU.At the meeting, the MCS officers were updated on the International Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing (IPOA-IUU), the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels, and specific measures needed in the Caribbean region to effectively reduce IUU fishing.

The technical meeting discussed and agreed on various essential fisheries management measures, such as on fishing vessel marking and identification, the establishment of a regional fishing vessel record and regional IUU vessel lists. These measures will, once adopted by the WECAFC session allow the fisheries inspectors, coast guard, navy and port officials to easily identify fishing vessels and see if the vessels have the necessary authorizations to fish. The measures will facilitate the work of the inspectors and other officials, who will have access to a regional record of authorized fishing vessels and lists of presumed and confirmed IUU fishing vessels.The advice produced by the RWG-IUU has been reviewed by the 8th session of the WECAFC Scientific Advisory Group (in November 2017) and is currently being reviewed by the Interim Coordination Mechanism for sustainable Fisheries of WECAFC, CRFM and OSPESCA. The advice is likely to be endorsed in late 2018 or early 2019 by all countries in the region for implementation to start in 2019 or 2020.

PDF URLs:http://www.fao.org/3/I8440B/i8440b.pdf

School of Menhaden

Report of the First meeting of the WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM/CITES/CFMC working group on shark conservation and management; Barbados, October 17-19, 2017

The meeting brought together more than 30 shark fisheries experts, conservationists, marine biologists and fisheries officers from 15 WECAFC members, regional fisheries bodies, fisheries technical advisory institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and other relevant stakeholders.

The experts at the meeting recognized the decline in various shark and ray stocks in the Caribbean region, as well as the need to conserve the threatened species among them. The joint Working Group stressed the importance of harmonizing conservation and management measures with various international and regional conventions for the protection of these often-migratory species, as well as with measures by regional fisheries management bodies in the Atlantic. The fisheries experts recommended amongst others that the countries in the region should prohibit the removal of shark fins at sea and require that all sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached through the point of first landing of the sharks. Moreover, the experts recommended the prohibition of targeted fisheries for iconic species such as whale sharks, sawfishes and manta rays. Incidental catches of these species should be promptly released unharmed and alive, to the extent possible.

The experts worked on a regional shark stocks and fisheries status assessment and a Regional Plan of Action for the conservation and management of sharks and rays in the WECAFC area. This RPOA-Sharks will incorporate regional collaboration on shark research, data collection and sharing, capacity building, harmonized management and conservation measures, enforcement and monitoring, and public awareness

PDF URLs:http://www.fao.org/3/I8718EN/i8718en.pdf  
Card URLs: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/I8718EN
 
School of Menhaden
 

Report of the Eighth Session of the Scientific Advisory Group; Mexico, November 3-4, 2017

The SAG discussed the outcomes of the work carried out by various joint working groups in 2016–2017 and their Recommendations to WECAFC 17.The SAG reviewed the status of the main fish stocks in Area 31 and discussed the impact of the increase in Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) fisheries on the current stock assessment methods used.The SAG further got updated on the functioning of the Interim Coordination Mechanism for Sustainable Fisheries, the WECAFC-FIRMS partnership and the activities of partner agencies in the region.

PDF URLs: http://www.fao.org/3/I8745T/i8745t.pdf
Card URLs: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/I8745T