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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Trinidad-based Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) says most Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries are net importers of food and food products, importing a combined five billion US dollars of these products in 2018.
It said that a similar trend applies to the national and regional supplies of seafood and fish products, which are generally unable to satisfy robust demand across Caricom countries and that more than a third of seafood consumed in the 15-member grouping is imported.
CANARI said it has developed four new reports under the GEF-FAO “Developing Organisational Capacity for Ecosystem Stewardship and Livelihoods in Caribbean Small-Scale Fisheries (StewardFish) project.
It said that the reports highlight opportunities for improving intraregional trade and consumption of seafood in the Caricom region.
The reports include three country-level fisheries value chains analyses for the Dolphinfish (Mahi
mahi) fishery in Barbados, Caribbean Spiny Lobster fishery in Jamaica, and Queen Conch fishery in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The reports map opportunities for additional marketing and distribution of current and new seafood products for these fisheries.
The fourth report examines and makes key recommendations to improve the public policy and private sector purchasing practices to support intra-regional trade and consumption of seafood in the Caricom region.
CANARI said that the studies which informed the reports were conducted with input from key national and regional fisheries stakeholders in the public and private sectors and civil society.
Regionally, key informants included trade specialists at Caricom, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO).
“The information provided in these reports can influence policy, management and development decisions at the national and regional levels to strengthen sustainable small-scale fisheries value chains and leverage opportunities to increase intra-regional trade of seafood products by addressing key institutional and supply chain challenges, such as modernising outdated trade legislation, improving transport systems and strengthening cold chain management,” CANARI said.