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Large pelagic fish are important to small-scale, commercial and recreational fisheries in many Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries and are seen as an area with potential for growth. As most fisheries are transboundary, management requires collaboration among countries in the context of international fisheries agreements. The FAO Technical Cooperation Programme project TCP/RLA/0070 sought to assist CARICOM countries in formulating an approach to the development and management of large pelagic fisheries. The project was designed to address each group of large pelagics: oceanic and coastal. For oceanic species, ways to involve the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) directly were identified and explored. For coastal large pelagic species, mainly within the Western Central Atlantic, the need for a regional arrangement emerged. This could be a subsidiary of ICCAT, or a separate entity with close collaboration, if ICCAT were willing to delegate its responsibility for coastal species. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, recently established by CARICOM, could play a key role in both initiatives. In developing the approach to management of large pelagics, the project compiled and reviewed a wide range of material on large pelagic fisheries in the Caribbean, including the status of resources, fishery harvest and post-harvest sectors, status of national and regional management initiatives and the extent to which countries are engaged in ICCAT and other international management activities.

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