|Description||Many living marine resources in the Caribbean Region are in crisis. Most of the fishery resources are coastal and are intensively exploited by large numbers of small-scale fishers. The majority of the human population in the Caribbean region lives in coastal communities and there is high dependence on living marine resources for employment and food. There is also high demand for seafood in the tourism industry, a mainstay of the economy in many of the region’s countries. Some species, such as lobster and conch are in high demand for export. These pressures have led to widespread depletion of these resources, a situation that must be reversed in accordance with the targets identified at the WSSD. This depletion has led to increased dependence and fishing pressure on offshore resources, which are already considered to be fully or overexploited.
The living marine resources of the Caribbean LME are often shared between countries and the management and the recovery of depleted fish stocks will require cooperation at various geopolitical scales, but there are at present inadequate institutional, legal and policy frameworks or mechanisms for managing shared living marine resources across the region. There is a lack of capacity at the national level and information is lacking, particularly with relation to the transboundary distribution, dispersals and migrations of these organisms. This lack of knowledge represents a major barrier to sustainable management of these shared marine resources, even if an adequate mechanism for effective region-wide ecosystem-based management was in place. The establishment of an effective mechanism is the major challenge for management of transboundary resources and achievement of the WSSD targets
There is considerable spatial and seasonal heterogeneity in productivity throughout the region. Areas of high productivity include the plumes of continental rivers, localized upwelling areas and near shore habitats (e.g., reefs, mangrove stands and seagrass beds). The trophic connection between these productive areas and other, less productive systems (e.g., offshore planktonic or pelagic systems), is poorly understood for this region. Likewise, food chain linkages between resources with differing scales of distribution and migration, such as flyingfish and large pelagics, both of which are exploited, are not considered in management, but may be critical to preventing the stock depletion that has occurred in many other systems where the requirements and or impacts of predators have not been considered in the exploitation of prey species.
Despite the international cooperation indicated by country participation in agreements and organizations (see ‘Country Drivenness’ section), and heightened awareness throughout the region that an integrated approach is required for the Caribbean region, the knowledge base and technical and institutional capacity that are required to give effect to the variety of agreements and commitments is a severe constraint for most of the countries in the region. Even for those countries with substantial capacity at the national level, the regional institutional network that is required for Caribbean-wide integrated management is lacking and many fragmented institutional arrangements must be sorted out on regional and national scales before WSSD targets can be met.
The specific objectives of the project are:
1.To identify, analyze and agree upon major transboundary issues, root causes and actions required to achieve sustainable management of the shared living marine resources in the Caribbean Sea LME;
2.To improve the shared knowledge base so that sustainable use and management of transboundary living marine resources will be possible;
3.To implement legal, policy and institutional (SAP) reforms regionally and nationally to achieve sustainable transboundary living marine resource management;
4.To develop an institutional and procedural approach to LME level monitoring, evaluation and reporting for management decisionmaking.|