The Regional Activity Centre for the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife for the Wider Caribbean Region
Caribbean Environment Program
DEAL Guadeloupe
United Nations Environment Programme
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Fisheries management

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Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Project

I. General information

Project initiator: UNDP and UNOPS, with support from IOCARIBE/UNESCO

Implementation coordinating structure : IOCARIBE

Project objective: Transboundary fishery resources management, durable conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems (commitment over at least 10 years)

Participating countries : Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint-Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Funding: GEF

Amount: 7,008,116 US $

Timetable : 10 years, started in 2008


 IOCARIBE : Néstor J. Windevoxhel
 CLME Project Coordination Unit / Regional Project Coordinator:
 Prof Robin Mahon
Fisheries management

II. Description

The general project

The “Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem” project validated in April 2008 is currently being implemented. This is a large-scale Global Environment Fund project for the sustainable management of marine resources in the Caribbean that will run over a period of 4 years for phase 1. This “Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem” project is one of a series of regional GEF “Large marine ecosystems” projects. It is backed by UNEP and UNDP. The project aims to improve the management of marine resources in the greater Caribbean region, notably working on fishing, pollution, etc… The aim is to promote the sustainable management of cross-border resources, based on an ecosystem approach: identifying and analysing major issues; improving the shared knowledge base; implementing legislative, political and institutional changes; and developing an institutional approach for the monitoring, evaluation and scaling of the large marine ecosystem.

A number of projects or pilot activities, on species (lobsters) or ecosystems (reef fisheries), are part of this general project.

The “Biodiversity and reef fisheries” project

Amount: 1 155 000 US $

Implemented by: UNEP-CAR/RCU

Bearing in mind the key role played by the coral reefs in terms of service provision, on which a significant proportion of Caribbean marine resources depend at one stage or another of their life cycle, this pilot project is an essential component of the general project. These protected areas, including marine reserves, have become a special resource management tool due to the failure of conventional methods such as restricted sizes and fishing quotas. However, areas located outside of protected areas still remain subject to risks of habitat depletion and degradation. Consequently and in order to be efficient, new interventions must take into account the need for a balanced approach that incorporates the need for protected areas on a biogeographical regional level and a local community-based approach. This will only succeed by developing and encouraging strategies and actions to conserve natural habitats in the chosen coastal sites and by limiting the impacts of overfishing and inappropriate coastal development, firstly focussing on statutory frameworks and governance, including the restoration of coastal habitats as well as damaged reef systems and associated fishery resources, and based on greater knowledge of large and remote reef systems.

The objective of the pilot project is to promote management using an ecosystem approach for coral reefs and associated resources, in order to maintain their functional and structural integrity and their biodiversity, and to ensure social and economic benefits for local communities and the region as a whole.

The pilot project will be based on current knowledge of reef ecosystems and fisheries at a local, national and regional level as well as relevant regional and international experiences in terms of management and multisectoral and participative conservation measures. The project will notably enable a close collaboration between the countries in order to share expertise on strategies and approaches for the management and conservation of extended reef systems.

The main activities will include:
  • consolidating existing management frameworks based on ecosystem approach principles, updating and creating habitat maps and onsite inventories for little-known areas.
  • compiling and analysing existing regulations in terms of management and systems implemented on selected sites
  • improving awareness and education (emphasis on regulations and their application)
  • passing on good practices and sharing experiences
  • adaptive management and best management practices


III. News

Different monitoring committees and teams have been created, and the general and “Biodiversity and reef fisheries” projects are currently being set up.

The sites or group of sites on which the pilot project will be based have been chosen:

  • Seaflower biosphere reserve, Archipelago of San Andres (Colombia)

  • Pedro Bank (Jamaica)

  • Cross-border sites on the coast of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti)

  • Grenadine Islands (St Vincent and the Grenadines)

The activities in the sites chosen for the “Biodiversity and reef fisheries” pilot project are currently just beginning. The first activities (2010-2011) will bear on consolidating management frameworks: evaluating and mapping chosen sites, analysing regulations and their application, involving players, education programmes and awareness, and sharing good practices.

During the 2010 GCFI meeting from 1 to 5 November in Puerto Rico, an entire day has been dedicated to the management of reef ecosystems for sustainable fisheries.