Cost of fishing study concluded for Caribbean states

CRFM Fishing Study
Claudia Stella Beltrán Turriago, economic consultant, interviewing fishers at Northern Fishermen's Cooperative in Belize City, Belize

A landmark study to look at the impacts of rising cost factors on fishing operations in the Caribbean has been concluded, and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), in collaboration with FAO, will convene a validation workshop at the United Nations House in Christ Church, Barbados on Monday, February 27 and Tuesday, February 28, to review the findings and chart the necessary course of action.

At the upcoming event, CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, will present a general overview of the project and explain what the workshop is expected to achieve. The background, findings, conclusions and recommendations of the study will be presented by Claudia Stella Beltrán Turriago, economic consultant, for final refinement.

The study, carried out in select CRFM Member States, focused on factors such as capital, labor, maintenance and energy costs. At next week’s meeting, participants will review and finalize the formal report on the findings of the study, as well as propose workable policy options and strategies to improve efficiency, productivity and sustainability in the fisheries sector. The broader aim is to improve competitiveness and profitability at the local, regional and international levels.

The initiative will also inform strategies to protect against future economic shocks, reduce barriers to market access, and compensate for price fluctuations for fisheries produce by building on the value-added dimension of the industry.

Last May, the CRFM convened a meeting of fisheries experts in Barbados to create a roadmap, including the best methodology for the study. They also selected the beneficiary countries targeted for fieldwork and remote surveys, which entailed surveys of small-scale and industrial fishers, suppliers, traders and exporters.

Later that same month, the consultant commenced field visits to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She also conducted remote surveys for Guyana, Grenada, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

All 17 states which are members of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, as well as countries covered by a UN/FAO project on the Sustainable Management of Bycatch in Trawl Fishing in Latin America and the Caribbean (the REBYC-II LAC), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), are expected to benefit from the broader application of the study’s findings.

The CRFM will prepare a policy brief for action by Caribbean leaders, to highlight the major findings and recommendations, including policy options and strategies to increase efficiency, productivity and sustainability of the fisheries and aquaculture sector, while reducing economic risks.