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Workshop held to strengthen fisherfolk capacity in St. Lucia

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Participants identifying the challenges facing fisherfolk and their organisations in Saint Lucia. *Photo credit: CANARI

PRESS RELEASE – Over 30 fisherfolk leaders from the Saint Lucia National Fisherfolk Cooperative Society Limited (SLNFCSL) and affiliate fisherfolk cooperatives, and representatives from the Fisheries and Cooperatives Divisions participated in a National Fisherfolk Workshop in Saint Lucia from April 2-3, 2014.

This workshop was aimed at strengthening the capacities of the fisherfolk organisations in Saint Lucia to better participate in the national, regional and international processes for developing and implementing fisheries and related policies.

“I would like to be a voice for young people entering the fishing industry because they feel they have no opportunities,” said Devon Stephen, a young fisherfolk leader from Choiseul, during a panel discussion on food security and related fisheries policies.

During the workshop, participants, using a needs assessment approach, identified challenges to fisherfolk organisations and fisherfolk in Saint Lucia in areas such as organisational development, policy and governance, fisheries management, quality assurance and safety, cost of fishing operations and praedial larceny. Then, they determined the solutions, including the capacities and resources required to address these challenges. They also recognised the need to become more involved in policy influencing at the national, regional and international levels, and examined means by which they could advocate for change.

The workshop was co-facilitated by Petronila Polius and Margaret Harrison, mentors to SLNFCSL, and Terrence Phillips, senior technical officer, CANARI.

Supporting the engagement of fisherfolk is especially critical now, as there are a number of international, regional and national policies being developed and implemented that will impact on their livelihoods.

The Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organistions (CNFO) in consultation with its membership, including SLNFCSL, is putting forward fisherfolk positions in ongoing negotiations on the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries, which are being coordinated by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). At the regional level, they are seeking to input into the implementation of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy.

The workshop was convened under the over one million Euro European Union-funded project enhancing food security from the fisheries sector in the Caribbean: building the capacity of regional and national fisherfolk organisation networks to participate in fisheries governance and management, which is targeting fisherfolk organisations in the 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.

It is being implemented by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), working in partnership with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies of the University of the West Indies (UWI-CERMES), Panos Caribbean, Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Associations (CNFO) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CFRM).

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