Strengthening Fisherfolk Organizations in St. Kitts and Nevis

A Fisherfolk Organizational Strengthening Workshop was held over two days and saw more than 30 representatives of the various Fisherfolk Organizations receiving training in: organizational aspects, business planning, governance, leadership, team-building, legal, financial and credit issues.

Mr. Ashton Stanley, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Cooperatives, welcomed the participants and stressed the need for strong Fisherfolk cooperatives to partner with the Ministry and the Department of Marine Resources.

He stated that the Ministry had embraced the Ecosystem Approach of Fisheries to advance the sustainable use of the fisheries resources of the country.

Fisherfolk cooperatives are to play a key role in fisheries management in the near future, but will require professionalization in their administration and functioning. 

The FAO supported workshop made an initial effort towards building the required capacity of the Primary and National Fisherfolk Organizations within the Federation. This first workshop under the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme will be followed by dedicated training workshops on record and bookkeeping for Fisherfolk organizations, fisheries co-management training and fish quality and safety measures spread over the next six (6) months.     

Evidence from other countries show that strong Fisherfolk Cooperatives are able to overcome constraints (such as poor infrastructure and limited access to services and information) and to mitigate the negative effects of high food and fuel prices and other difficulty they may face.

Strong Fisherfolk Organizations have been able to overcome market and policy constraints by providing their members with access to a range of assets and services.

These assets and services include: reducing costs to individual fishers by allowing them to purchase in groups and benefit from better retail prices of fisheries inputs, such as fuel, gears and ice. It is also possible for members to voice their concerns and interests and to play an important role in the decision and policy making process.

Strengthened Fisherfolk Cooperatives in St Kitts and Nevis will be partners of the Government in the management of the countries resources.

The Department of Marine Resources has reached out to the countries fishers and is soliciting all responsible fishers to grab the opportunities offered.  Teaming-up is essential, and the only way forward is to curve the recent declining trends in fish and conch landings.

More information on the workshop and upcoming Fisherfolk Organization training events can be obtained from Mr. Marc Williams, Director of the Department of Marine Resources.

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