Dominica World Press release

FAO regional conference: Latin America and the Caribbean chart the way towards sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security

FAO regional conference: Latin America and the Caribbean chart the way towards sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security

The Blue Transformation proposes sustainable aquaculture production, effective fisheries management, and improved value chains. Representatives of Dominica, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago participated in the roundtable on this initiative.

March 19, 2024, Georgetown, Guyana –With 85 million people depending on aquatic foods for their livelihoods, these resources are vital to Latin America and the Caribbean’s social, economic, and nutritional well-being. However, challenges such as climate change, pollution, and environmental degradation threaten the long-term viability of aquatic food systems, just as the region is at a crucial point on its path to food security and environmental sustainability.

This urgency was the focus of the Ministerial Roundtable “Advancing fisheries and aquaculture towards sustainability under the Blue Transformation approach,” held within the framework of the 38th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is taking place these days in Georgetown, Guyana.

The Blue Transformation is an approach aimed at redefining our relationship with aquatic foods and proposes a vision of sustainable aquaculture production, effective fisheries management, and improved value chains. The goal is to achieve more equitable, resilient, and sustainable food systems.

“If implemented sustainably, blue transformation will increase global aquatic food consumption, even as the population grows. But if we do not transform and do not have sustainable practices, we could reduce per capita consumption of this food, putting more pressure on land-based production systems,” explained Manuel Barange, FAO Assistant Director-General and Director of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Division.

Ministers, vice ministers, and high authorities from Dominica, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad, and Tobago shared their countries’ experiences. They agreed on the need for a joint effort between governments, private companies, investors, civil society organizations, and other actors to promote innovation in systems, investments, and partnerships.

“In Panama, a new Fisheries and Aquaculture Law was adopted to encourage fishing, aquaculture, and blue fishing-related activities, ensuring that they are carried out in a sustainable manner, using appropriate methods that ensure the conservation, production, and marketing of these products, within an activity that benefits current and future generations,” said Panama’s Minister of Agricultural Development, Augusto Valderrama.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Agriculture, Lands, and Fisheries, Avinash Singh, said that “in the pursuit of sustainable management and development of our fisheries resources in Trinidad and Tobago, we are fortunate to collaborate with FAO in many areas of mutual interest, some of which include improving capacity for the adoption and implementation of the ecosystem approach to fisheries.

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Mining, Floyd Green, argued that priority must be given to diversifying the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and fish farmers. “It is the only thing that can be done to reduce overfishing and support ecosystem management efforts throughout the region.”

The blue economy is one of Dominica’s pillars of economic growth, said Roland Royer, the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. “Collectively, we call on islands in the region to promote the sustainable use of marine resources in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15. We endorse the regional protocol on the CARICOM Common Fisheries Policy for the sustainable use of living marine resources for blue economic growth and sustainable development, but much more is needed to boost the blue economy in the region.”

Vice Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Peru, Úrsula Desilú, said that her country “will continue with the implementation of actions that contribute to improving the sustainability of hydrobiological resources and will continue to face all upcoming challenges through innovative and beneficial means for our economic agents.”

The discussion document “Moving Towards the Sustainability of Fisheries and Aquaculture under the Blue Transformation Approach” was presented during the meeting. This document provides a clear and concise roadmap to guide implementation efforts aligned with FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-31.

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