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Making Fish and Seafood Ready for the World

Discussions are alive and although the progress has been slow the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has expressed optimism when it comes to the introduction of region wide laws, rules and regulations geared at making fish and seafood from the Caribbean not only ready for world trade but also safe for local consumption.  According to a release, stakeholders and experts met yesterday in Barbados with cooperation from ten Cariforum States where a legislation model, protocols and guidelines for heatlh and food safety in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors were deliberated on.  Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Milton Haughton noted that following the workshop the draft model legislation is to be reviewed, and followed by another round of consultations held with stakeholders and a legal team before it can be finalised and submitted to regional policy-makers for consideration. While not offering a timeline for the implementation of the legislation he stressed that improved standards and systems for sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) in fisheries are critical to the region socially and economically. The two-day meeting was the high point of a European Union-funded project to help CARIFORUM countries introduce laws, regulations and a governance system to guarantee safe seafood for export to EU markets and beyond.  The project, which is being carried out by the Belize-based CRFM and supported by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), aims to ramp up food safety standards to enable CARIFORUM fish exporters to take up trading opportunities under the EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The project is financed under the EU’s 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Project.