Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector

Fisheries and aquaculture response to emergency

Evidence of climate change is mounting throughout the world. Its impacts are becoming particularly evident in the Eastern Caribbean. This region is experiencing slow onset impacts, such as rising sea level and increasing sea surface temperature, and also rapid impacts, such as hurricanes and tropical storms becoming more common and intense. This is causing innumerable damages to fisheries infrastructure and assets such as boats, landing sites, and post-harvesting facilities, and is also putting the lives and livelihoods of fishers and coastal communities at risk.

FAO has developed the Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector Project (CC4FISH) to help the Eastern Caribbean small scale fisheries sector to adapt and increase its resilience to climate change, including the impacts mentioned. The project has been developing a multi-stakeholder, multileveled framework to address Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) within the Eastern Caribbean countries. These interventions encompass a wide range of activities, from facilitating high-level regional agreements, to supporting local resilience-building initiatives. Among other aspects, the CC4FISH project has provided:

  • Enhanced relationships between key government agencies such as Fisheries divisions, coast guard, national telecom regulatory commissions (NTRC), as well as between fishers, fisherfolk organizations and government agencies.
  • Development of CCA- and DRM-sensitive fisheries policies, plans and legislation and fisheries-sensitive climate change policies at the national and regional level.
  • The Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Emergency Response Training (FARE) and the Trainers of Trainers within FARE were carried out to improve the rolling out of Post-disaster damage and needs assessment (PDNA) after extreme weather events (e.g. hurricanes) to ensure the timely and appropriate incorporation of the fisheries sector in PDNAs to warrant relief and rehabilitation assistance.
  • A Regional Dialogue on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in the Caribbean on Climate Resilient Fisheries and Coastal Communities was organized in 2019 to improve incorporation of the fisheries sector into the NDCs, allowing for better climate financing for the fisheries sector in the near future.
  • The project is developing four Fisheries management plans for as many project countries incorporating Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), CCA and Disaster Risk Management (DRM).
  • Third-party fishing vessel insurance assessment to decrease risk exposure of fisherfolk to climate change related extreme weather events.
  • Fisherfolk associations’ exchanges to learn about best practices in climate change adaptation, marine protected areas, co-management and floating aggregating devices (FAD) fishing.
  • Restoration of the Dominica shrimp hatchery (severely affected by tropical storm Erika and hurricane Maria) to strengthen its capacities and provide seedlings for other shrimp farms, thus enabling other entrepreneurs to start businesses. Click here to access the publication.