In order to mark World Fisheries Day, the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO), member organisation of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples, held its first General Assembly on the 2o of October.
The assembly which took place in Barbados was attended by delegates from fisherfolk organisations representing 17 Caribbean countries including observers from the Fisheries Divisions of Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname, Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies of the University of the West Indies, Caribbean Natural Resource Institute and The Nature Conservancy.
The Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations is a regional, non-profit network of fisherfolk organisations which has been working in the Caribbean Community, Regional Integration (CARICOM) region for about nine years. The mission is to improve the quality of life for fisherfolk and develop a sustainable and profitable industry through networking, representation and capacity building. The organisation was registered as non-profit organization on 28 June 2016, in Belize, nine years after it has been operating as an informal group.
CNFO has played a significant role representing Caribbean fisherfolk and articulating fisherfolk related issues at the regional and international levels, utilising CRFM’s Forum meetings, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission and Committee of Fisheries meetings (COFI) to highlight their plight.
During the GA, Mr. Mitchell Lay, CNFO Coordinator acknowledged the important role funders played in mobilising resources to build the capacity of fisherfolk organisations and enhance the livelihood of fisherfolk in the Caribbean, “ I would like to acknowledge the support of the European Union in strengthening our role to participate in governance so to enhance livelihood opportunities for fisherfolk in the Caribbean,” said Lay, who alluded to the financial support received from the EU under which the CNFO was able formally register and hold its first GA.
The highlight of the General Assembly was the voting, through a secret ballot, and election of the seven-person Executive Committee, which would serve over the next three years.
Ms. Vernel Nichols, the newly elected Chair of the CNFO, assured members of the new Executive’s commitment to success, “the next years will be productive and we will strengthen our work with the Carribean fisherfolk, so that when we meet at the next general assembly you will see that we have moved on to a higher level.”
The Assembly accepted a Draft Business Plan for the Development of the CNFO for consideration.