REGIONAL fisheries' livelihoods, income and export earnings that provide food security are under threat due to critical barriers, management and policy gaps in the industry.
This was highlighted at the launch of a UWI Faculty of Food and Agriculture (FFA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) project on January 25.
UWI and FAO, in a media release, said they have teamed up to address industry issues such as overfishing, bycatch and discards, and data limitation.
The project, Enhancing Capacity for the Adoption and Implementation of Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) in the Shrimp and Groundfish Fisheries of the North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (EAF4SG), seeks to foster effective governance, management and long-term development of these aquatic resources.
The project, funded by the Global Environment Facility for US$1.7 million, will be implemented over the next four years in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname.
Dr Yvette Diei-Ouadi, fishery and aquaculture officer, FAO, said, "The three project countries have a high dependence on shrimp and groundfish resources for their socio-economic development.
"In 2020, these resources accounted for 98 per cent of the total fisheries production for Guyana, 97 per cent for Suriname, and 77 per cent for Trinidad and Tobago. The combined total fisheries amounted to 82,000 metric tonnes in 2020. Of this, approximately 45,000 metric tonnes, with an estimated value of US$200 million, were exported mainly to the European Union, US, and other countries in the Caribbean."
Prof Mark Wuddivira, agri-environmental soil physics, UWI, underscored the pivotal role that the FFA at the UWI plays in addressing these regional issues within the agri-environmental sector.
"Through collaborative efforts, we aim to contribute significantly to regional development, fostering a sustainable and thriving environment for our communities," he said.
The launch was part of the hybrid EAF4SG project inception workshop and the first Project Steering Committee meeting.
The committee has approved a total of US$498,89 for the project’s first-year work plan, the release said.