Nations intention to guard the enduring queen conch, construct a sustainable ocean financial system and supply tangible advantages to folks working within the area’s seafood worth chains.
© Shutterstock/Ethan Daniels | A queen conch lies on a seagrass mattress within the Caribbean Sea.
The big sea snail is likely one of the Caribbean’s most iconic and beneficial fishery assets, producing vital export revenues for Jap Caribbean international locations.
The worldwide marketplace for queen conch, estimated at greater than $74 million, is rising yearly, making the species an rising sufferer of unlawful fishing and overfishing. It’s additionally more and more weak to the consequences of local weather change, together with will increase in water temperatures within the Caribbean Sea.
“Blue BioTrade is an method to commercialize marine biodiversity services or products in a approach that respects folks, nature and authorized frameworks,” stated David Vivas, an UNCTAD authorized officer engaged on ocean financial system points.
Making use of BioTrade rules to marine conservation
The plan applies UNCTAD’s seven BioTrade Principles to the conservation of marine assets.
It was adopted at a regional workshop organized on 26 and 27 Could by UNCTAD, the Organisation of Jap Caribbean States (OECS) and the Conference on Worldwide Commerce in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The workshop, funded by the European Fee, introduced collectively fishers, conch processors and distributors, NGO representatives, authorities officers from departments of fisheries and coverage advisors from the UN and OECS.
“Our maritime area is nearly 85 instances bigger than our collective landmass,” stated Didacus Jules, Director Common of OECS.
That is an indicator of the large potential of the ocean financial system, which requires a sustainable method within the face of local weather change, Mr. Jules stated.
Defending the beloved sea snail
Beneath the plan, the three international locations will conduct inventory assessments to know the well being of queen conch within the Caribbean and create a nursery to replenish the species’ wild populations.
Based mostly on the inventory assessments, they may contemplate quotas and closed seasons to protect the beloved sea snail.
They may also create an export process power to facilitate entry to high-value markets, akin to Martinique and different islands within the French Caribbean, and to make sure fishers obtain a justifiable share of the worth of queen conch.
The international locations will practice fishers in scuba-diving and supply them higher insurance coverage schemes to scale back the well being dangers related to deep water diving.
OECS and its member states will constantly liaise with CITES to beat any current commerce suspensions.
Karen Gaynor, a scientific officer at CITES, stated commerce suspensions are a final resort, and the group’s goal is to make sure commerce is “authorized, sustainable and traceable”.
The plan will probably be co-managed by fishers and different stakeholders. Native fishers will probably be registered and prioritized in a licence system to make sure their continued entry to their livelihoods.
The workshop was a key results of the primary part of a regional project launched in October 2020.
The challenge recognized recommendations for policymakers, investors and exporters to grab the advantages of sustainable commerce of queen conch.
The three beneficiary international locations validated the suggestions and dedicated to implementing them coherently, outlining their priorities.
Host nation Saint Vincent and the Grenadines harassed the significance of acquiring licensed amenities for meals security to extend the worth generated from queen conch.
Saint Lucia emphasised the necessity for scuba-diving trainings for its fishers to scale back well being dangers related to deep-water diving.
Grenada targeted on measures to elevate CITES commerce suspensions, which at the moment block its exports of queen conch. It has prioritized conducting a inventory evaluation, adopted by authorized reforms. The nation has averted a possible new commerce suspension due to its latest submission of a legislative reform plan to implement CITES.
Regional and sectoral enlargement
The challenge’s second part will concentrate on implementing the regional plan within the three international locations.
UNCTAD, in collaboration with the Worldwide Commerce Centre, will present a free self-assessment tool to assist international locations and companies benchmark and meet sustainable commerce requirements particular to marine meals sectors.
The challenge will develop to learn different OECS member states and apply Blue BioTrade Ideas to new species, akin to sargassum and sea moss by-products.