La FAO en Amérique latine et aux Caraïbes

FAO seeks to help boost shrimp and groundfish numbers in the Caribbean through comprehensive fish stock assessment course

Intended for fisheries managers and fisheries officers from countries in the North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem.

Shrimp trawlers operating in French Guiana (© FAO)

As shrimp and groundfish resources in the southern Caribbean continue to be intensively exploited, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed a new capacity building course to help countries better manage the exploited fish and crustacean species in the North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (NBSLME).

Intended for fisheries managers and fisheries officers from countries in the NBSLME (Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago), the course seeks to strengthen their knowledge of the status of these intensively fished marine resources in the NBSLME by increasing their technical capacity in fish stock assessment, particularly in data-limited situations. Participants are also being introduced to FishPath, a comprehensive and standardized approach to guiding the selection of monitoring, assessment and decision rule options for data-limited fisheries.

Internationally renowned fisheries expert Dr. Jason Cope (University of Washington, United States of America) is leading the training offered through the course. Since 2004, Dr. Cope has participated in numerous groundfish stock assessments in the Northwest Pacific. He is also involved in diverse research activities, including the development, application and teaching of methods for data-limited fisheries.

“Dealing with limited data and resources is a common challenge facing the management of most of the world’s fisheries,” says Dr. Cope. “Nonetheless, data-limitations does not exclude the use of the scientific method, statistical theory, and clever population modeling approaches to provide critical insight and scientifically-based advice to fisheries managers. Increasing capacity to apply fisheries theory in data-limited situations remains a worldwide need; the good news is we have the tools to meet this need.”

The training is part of a wider regional effort to bolster the management of shared living marine resources through an ecosystem-based management (EAF) approach. It will also make a significant contribution to the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project.

As a CLME+ Project partner, FAO is implementing an EAF approach to fisheries in the subregion. In this context, FAO is working with countries to ensure a more resilient marine environment that can effectively support sustainable food production and related livelihoods. 

“The methods and techniques offered through this course will be key in establishing the regional capacity required for effective stock assessment of the shrimp and groundfish resources of the NBSLME. By defining the best strategies for their sustainable management, fisheries officers and managers can help the region improve its food security and increase the incomes of its fisherfolk,” explains Dr. Jeremy Mendoza, Regional Project Coordinator at FAO for the CLME+ Sub-Project EAF for the Shrimp and Groundfish Fishery.