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The medium-term objective of the project was to enable fishery institutions in the region to carry out improved assessments and monitoring of the status of the pelagic resources and fisheries and the ecosystem of which they form a part, for continuous adaptation and improvement of optimum management strategies.

Immediate objectives included:

  • obtaining improved estimates of the abundance of key components of the Lesser Antilles pelagic ecosystem, including cetaceans and other top predators;
  • the formulation of a food web model of the ecosystem as a means of investigating ecosystem interactions and impacts;
  • the development of an ecosystem management plan for the pelagic waters of the EEZs of the participating countries, which will include management strategies for key species of fishery interest in the sub-region, as well as for other affected and dependent species, and
  • the development of research and management capacity for ecosystem-based management of their pelagic waters at a national and sub-regional level.

This project was one of several broad, encompassing EAF projects undertaken by FAO globally. During the assessment of ecosystem issues within the Project, a number of the important issues which emerged highlighted the need to encompass the human dimension through participatory processes, co-management and capacity building activities to ensure fishers are seen as integral actors in the ecosystem. This project also reflects the emergence of a general recognition that conventional (target-species oriented) fisheries management has not been adequate for conservation of ecosystems as a whole. However it is also recognized that many conventional management practices are consistent with and form a part of an ecosystem approach.

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