Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

In this post we seek to address the question "What best practices with regard to communication would you recommend for SSF Guidelines implementation at local, national, regional and global level?" from the perspective of Guyana and the Caribbean.

Guyana’s fishing industry sustains a small portion of the population’s livelihood by the provision of employment and as a major income earning economic activity. It contributes an approximation of 3% to the country’s gross domestic product. Fish consumption is an important source of protein in one’s diet especially in Guyana with an average of 57 kg per capita in 2011. Ensuring sustainability in the fish industry is therefore of prime importance in all areas thereby ensuring food security. The prawns industry for example failed in the 1990s due to overfishing.  The focus hereon examines how communication practices between the fishing industry and fishery organisations and the government can forester growth at local, national, regional, and global level.

The fishing industry mostly operates on commercialized basis and a traditional one as well in which the small scale fishers are involved. Aquaculture farming also plays a significant part in its contribution to the overall fish production in the country. It was noted that the fish industry continues to expand with revenues amounting to $24M in 2012 compared with $7M in 2011.[1] Even though this seems to be a significant improvement, these fishers are often left without a voice. Communication should thus be enhanced so as to maintain the fishing practices that these fishers undertake, to address problems encountered and to ensure that fishing legislations are made aware to and adhered by all fishers involved in the industry. For the SSF guidelines to be effectively implemented the various current fishing organisations should performing their responsibilities. The Ministry of Agriculture stated that the Fisheries Department maintains sustainable fishing levels of seabob resources by collaborative efforts with the Guyana Association of Trawler Owners and Seafood Processors (GATOSP).  Communication via such an organisation in developing countries on the local level and national levels as a whole ensures that small scale fisheries are monitored thereby securing a sustainable fish population for future protein consumption. These organisations can easily monitor the amount of fishery resources being caught and prevents any wastage in resources. As such, fishers are less likely to encounter problems of overfishing and thus secure their livelihood.

Maintaining food security in the region is also key importance in the regional, i.e. the Caribbean region, and global levels. In the Caribbean communication practices among nations is done for example through the establishment of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO). This body aimed to create a network by having countries establish national fisherfolk organisations (NFO) within their country. These NFOs will strengthen the institutional capacities of fisherfolk organisations within countries and ensure proper management of the fishing industry within the country is undertaken.[2] The CNFO acting as an overseer will further ensure that communication of relevant information is done through the respective NFO networks. The Caribbean as a whole is dependent on the fishery sector for their food security and nutrition needs and contributes an average of 7% of some country’s GDP.[3] Thus with the NFOs, small scale fisheries throughout the Caribbean will be better managed and information in relation to new technologies for example will be circulated throughout the region and enhance the development of small fishers in the entire region. Similar practices can be implemented on the global level.