Port of Spain – The UK Government-funded Darwin Initiative has announced the projects funded under this year’s Darwin Plus scheme which provides grants to projects working on environmental issues in the UK Overseas Territories.
One of the successful projects in this latest funding round is a joint project being delivered by the UK Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the Government of the Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI). This project will build capacity in fisheries evidence, networks, and management to support ongoing sustainable fisheries management.
This three-year project will review and consolidate existing evidence, data, and maps for the marine area, and produce a centralised fisheries database and fisheries evidence report to improve the capture and display of fisheries data and support future licensing and management decisions.
It will also strengthen fisherfolk capacity and engagement and facilitate the development of a formalised network of fisherfolk to enable a collective voice and greater participation in decision-making. In addition, the capability will be built with the Government of the Virgin Islands to support the ongoing management of the evidence base.
Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Virgin Islands, Dr Natalio Wheatley said: “This project will assist us to better manage our fisheries resources, which are an important part of the Virgin Islands culture and economy. We are happy for this partnership with CEFAS and CANARI and the technical expertise these agencies bring to our shores. An important part of this project is the work that will take place with fishers to assist them in organising themselves and understanding their role in sustainable fisheries. We are thankful for the opportunity afforded us through the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative, and look forward to the implementation of the project over the next three years.”
Cefas Chief Scientist Professor Stuart Rogers said: “We are delighted to be working with the Government and fisheries stakeholders in the Virgin Islands to build on the progress already made on sustainable fisheries management. We understand the importance of evidence to support good decision-making and are looking forward to working in partnership with managers and the community.”
CANARI Executive Director Ms. Nicole Leotaud said: “We believe this project will contribute to strengthening the small-scale fisheries sector for food security, protecting valuable ocean resources key for economic development in the Virgin Islands, and supporting fisherfolk livelihoods in the face of COVID-19, climate change and other key risks. CANARI welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Government and fisherfolk in the Virgin Islands to enhance their capacity for sustainable management and resilience.”
— SOURCE: Caribbean Natural Resources Institute