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Mar 6, 2020

Exploring the Economic Benefits of the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem

A four-year project to spur greater benefits from the ocean was launched in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility and the Food and Agricultural Organization. The initiative is called the Blue Economy and involves six countries from the Caribbean. More than forty-six million U.S. dollars are being invested to maximise the marine economy. Here is Duane Moody with a report on the two-day event.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A “Blue Economy: Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Plus” initiative to promote national blue economy priorities in the region through marine spatial planning was officially launched today in Belize. The four-year-project is being funded through a grant from the Global Environment Facility and with co-financing from the Food and Agricultural Organization and the Development Bank of Latin America. The forty-six point two million U.S. dollar initiative is being executed by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism.

 

Milton Haughton

Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM

“In recent times, there have been a lot of attention and focus on the vast potential of the marine space, the ocean, which is why it is called the blue economy and blue growth and ocean economy. The idea is we recognize that we can derive significantly greater benefits from this huge marine space that is available to us in the Caribbean and globally. So Small Island Development States, in particular, but all coastal states are very keen in developing the potential of this economy.”

 

Data shows that in the Caribbean, marine ecosystems account for over eighty percent of CARICOM States and territories, which translates to millions of dollars in fisheries, tourism, ocean transportation among other industries. It is critical to sustainable livelihoods of coastal community and food security for markets regionally and internationally.

 

Milton Haughton

“There are tremendous potential areas outside of the traditional areas of fisheries and tourism such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biotechnology, using biodiversity. So there is a lot of work that is taking place right now and we are seeing tremendous progress in some countries; mainly, the developed countries, but also in the larger developing countries such as China.”

 

The project was approved in November of 2019 and this phase will flesh out the detailed work plan for the six participating countries and relating agencies. Key is government’s buy-in and commitment from the various stakeholders. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization plays a vital role in this initiative.

 

Yvette Diei Ouadi

Dr. Yvette Diei Ouadi, Fisheries & Aquaculture Officer, UN FAO

“It will unlock the potential of the fisheries sector in terms of food and nutrition security for fisheries; in terms of the livelihood of our coastal communities and in terms of national income. This needs to be done only if the threats and challenges that are facing the sector are addressed. And that’s where FAO comes in with expertise to assist the Caribbean countries in sustainable management of their fisheries, the conservation and development of their fisheries.”

 

The project is expected to include climate smart investments into national and regional marine spatial planning to inform strategies and strengthening of marine protected areas. Duane Moody for News Five.


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