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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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FISHERIES SECTOR CONTRIBUTES ABOUT US$300 MILLION ANNUALLY TO THE CARIBBEAN’S EXPORT EARNINGS

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The Fisheries sector contributes an average of about US$300 million each year to the Caribbean’s export earnings. Take steps to protect it.

The first hurricane of the Atlantic Season formed as a named storm on 1 September 2022 and soon after grew to hurricane strength. However, Danielle is no threat to the Caribbean and is making its way across the North Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Earl has triggered alerts in the Northwestern Caribbean and was expected to cause heavy rainfall in some Caribbean countries within its path. Although it is projected to morph into a major hurricane, forecasts indicate that it will eventually veer to the northeast, away from the Caribbean islands and US mainland by that time.

More systems are likely to emerge in our region in the days and weeks ahead. So the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) urges Member States, and particularly fishers, to remain vigilant especially at this time. The fisheries sector is vital to the region’s economy and food security, as well as the livelihoods of almost 120,000 persons in the region who depend on the sector for their livelihoods and income. The sector also earns the region an average of approximately US$300 million each year from exports. The contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of Member States is also significant. Therefore, protecting the fisheries sector is of paramount importance.

Early preparation and understanding risks are key to reducing loss, damage and injury to fishers and their families. Securing boats and equipment is critical when a tropical storm or hurricane threatens.

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Almost 120,000 people in the Caribbean depend directly on Fisheries for their livelihoods.

Fishers and fishing communities should take steps to prepare for any disaster:

  • Stay informed and carefully follow official information from authoritative sources about severe weather systems and hurricanes.
  • Be aware of the risks and safeguard against hazards such as high winds and turbulent seas, storm surge and storm tide, rip currents, heavy rainfall and flooding, and tornadoes.
  • Make a family emergency plan and have an emergency kit with supplies, enough food, water, medicine and other essentials that will last them for at least two weeks.

TIPS FOR FISHERS AND BOATERS

The CRFM cautions fishers against operating vessels under adverse weather conditions and urges them to act early to secure their boats and store their fishing gear and basic supplies like ropes, lines, hooks, coolers, crimps and crimpers in the event of an approaching storm. This will help to ensure that fishers can protect their livelihoods and return to fishing more quickly after the storm passes and minimize lost and abandoned fishing gear that will continue to ‘ghost fish.’

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