Belgium supports FAO in protecting livelihoods and restoring income-generation of fishers affected by Hurricane Maria in Dominica

Belgium supports FAO in protecting livelihoods and restoring income-generation of fishers affected by Hurricane Maria in Dominica

18/01/2018

Category 5 Hurricane Maria was the strongest hurricane in terms of maximum sustained winds in the Atlantic since Wilma (2005). The Hurricane hit Dominica on 18 September 2017, affecting the entire country. The extremely powerful Hurricane caused catastrophic damages and losses to the agriculture sector, including to crop, livestock and fishery production. Fisheries provides a is a main source of income and significantly contributes to the food security of the Dominican population. Based on the 2011 fisheries census, there are approximately 2 074 families (10 370 people) who rely on fisheries for their livelihoods.

Preliminary results of post-disaster needs assessments indicated that over 170 boats were negatively affected by Hurricane Maria. About 30 percent of all fishing boats were damaged and 70 percent were destroyed. A large number of fishery equipment and gear have also been damaged or lost, including traps, nets, engines and cooling systems (ice making machines, refrigerators, etc.), significantly affecting fishers’ livelihoods.

Thanks to the Belgian contribution of USD 100 000, through FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities, FAO is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for the rehabilitation of the fisheries sector. The emergency project directly supports 400 fishing households (about 2 000 people) through the provision of quality fishing gear, boat repair material and other equipment to allow fishers to resume their livelihoods activities and avoid further deterioration of their food security and nutrition. Fishing activities will be rehabilitated sustainably to improve the food security and livelihoods of affected populations by replacing lost fish traps, for example. The sustainability of activities implemented will be ensured as the new traps will be fitted with biodegradable escape panels in order to decrease fish mortality in case the traps are lost. Boat and engine repair is also an integral part of the intervention, allowing for fishers to quickly resume fishing.