Efforts are on the way to formulate a fisheries and aquaculture policy for the management of fisheries in Dominica.
To this end, the Fisheries Division has embarked on a seven month project sponsored by the European Union under a programme called” Strengthening Fisheries Management in African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries (ACP FISH 11). The consulting firm is SOFRECO.
A series of consultations with fishers across the island to get their input into developing such a policy is priority for Government.
The first such consultation was held on Monday April 30th, 2012 in Roseau where a number of fisher organizations from across the island were represented.
Fisheries Officer Norman Norris told the consultation that “currently the management and governance of the Fisheries Sector is without the guidance of any clear documented policy framework”.
He said there is need to clearly define the policy direction for fisheries management and governance in Dominica.
“As you might be aware, Dominica does not have a fisheries policy, and this makes it very challenging for us to operate in the environment that we are in. There are many things which leave a lot to be desired and this is why we saw it necessary to present this project to the (ACP FISH 11) for their support”.
Norris explained further that under the project, a technical team comprising fisheries and maritime experts, policy makers, fishers and other critical stakeholders has been invited to provide technical support to the consultant spearheading the project.
The fisheries Division will be responsible for the coordination, implementation and the provision of technical guidance to this project. Senior Fisheries Officer Harold Guiste commenting on the project added that a fisheries policy for Dominica is necessary.
“We need to develop guiding principles for the development of the fishing Industry in Dominica. This is necessary because there are several challenges that we are confronted with when it comes to fisheries development and management. It behoves us to be able to establish some policies by which we are able to direct the development of the fisheries industry”.
Fisheries specialist in Marine Conservation Joanna Gascoigne has been assigned to the Dominica Fisheries Policy formulation project. She has been on the island over the past two week speaking to a number of stakeholders and has so far received valuable input.
The seven month project is expected to come to a close by August 20, 2012.
St. Vincent and Grenada are two other countries in the Caribbean region currently involved in similar activities to enhance their fisheries sectors.