2(iii) the distances that the vessels may operate from safe havens; as well as(iv) the type of fishing operations to be carried out.CARICOM Member States have an opportunity to develop suitable minimum standardsand a common approach to their implementation through technology exchange and aharmonized system of fisheries rules and regulations in relation to fishing vessels. Thisremains an imperative for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector in theregion.
Caribbean Community, safety at sea, fishing vessel standards, sustainable development
IMPORTANCE OF FISHERIES IN THE CARICOM REGION AND ASSOCIATEMEMBER STATES
The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) comprise Antigua andBarbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica (Dominica),Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago representing a total population of approximately 15.2 million (including Haiti’s estimate of 8.8 million). TheAssociate Members of the Community are Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Turksand Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Within the Community a sub-setof States are also members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).These are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis,Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Associate Members of the OECS areAnguilla and the British Virgin Islands.The fisheries sector in the CARICOM region is of strategic importance, employing over 142,000 persons, directly or indirectly, who are mostly from remote rural communitiesthat lack income earning opportunities from other economic sectors. The sector earnsover US $150 million per year from export and saves the region at least three times asmuch in foreign exchange since the volume of production is four times the volume of export, accounting for up to 8% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of some Member States. Fisheries are a major source of protein especially in rural communities whichusually exhibit a higher percentage of poverty than the national average. Additionally, thesector complements and enhances the region’s tourism through its use as a vehicle for fishing excursions and fishing tournaments. Shrimp, queen conch, reef fishes, deep slopeand bank fishes, coastal and offshore pelagic make up the marine capture component andare by far the most important economically in the fisheries sector. Fish production inCARICOM/CARIFORUM countries in 2000 was 195,000 MT approximately with anestimated value of over US$500 million. Fish consumption is high in CARICOMCountries, in most cases higher than the world average, being second only to poultry as asource of protein. In fact, in many rural areas it is the main source of protein. Wheretourism is important divers, snorkelers and recreational fishers also rely on fish. Sportfishers mainly target the large pelagic fish species. It is anticipated that the sector willgrow in importance in the future.