In the Caribbean, the climate emergency is expected to have huge impacts to the marine environment and fisheries.
The Grenada Fisheries: Adapting to Climate Change report card, handed over to the Government today, looks at these impacts and what can be done to tackle them. Fisherfolk, fisheries managers and scientists in the Caribbean and UK worked together to identify actions which could be taken to make Grenada fisheries more robust in the face of climate change.
This work follows on from the Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card and the Climate Change Adaptation for Caribbean Fisheries report card undertaken as part of the UK’s support to Small Island Developing States to help protect their oceans as part of the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme. The Report describes in detail the impacts of climate change and what can be done to address those impacts with a specific focus on the situation in Grenada, including the work that is already underway and what more needs to be done to improve the resilience of the marine environment and fisheries livelihoods in the country.
British High Commissioner to Barbados, and non-resident High Commissioner to Dominica, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda Scott Furssedonn-Wood handed over the Report Card to Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Hon. Sen. Adrian Thomas on 27 July 2022 whilst on a visit to the island.
Minister Thomas said, “The Government of Grenada is extremely grateful to be a beneficiary of this very important piece of work. The Blue Economy is a sector with huge potential and this new Government plans to explore every opportunity there is.”
High Commissioner Furssedonn-Wood said “understanding the impacts of climate change on the fisheries sector in the Caribbean is important to developing strategies and policies that will help to inform adaptation measures to protect the sector and to preserve the economic value of the fisheries sector.”
The report presents a number of key actions that can be taken to ensure adaptation of the sector and protection of the livelihood of the countless people who depend on small and large-scale fisheries across the Caribbean.
In Grenada, the fishing industry is hugely important for livelihoods, food, cultural value and tourism. Grenada is also home to important marine and coastal ecosystems including seagrass beds, corals and mangroves which support healthy fisheries. These are under threat from rising temperatures, ocean acidification and extreme weather events such as hurricanes, compounded by other pressures such as pollution, habitat destruction and some unsustainable fishing.
At a workshop in February 2022, stakeholders discussed the impacts on the sector and possible mitigating actions. This included fisherfolk reporting experiencing smaller catches and smaller fish, changes to seasonality of catches and effects on the reefs. They are already changing their fishing practices to adapt to these changes. During the workshop, climate adaptation actions were identified which can reduce the impact of climate change on fisheries and livelihoods, food security and society. These actions include reducing pollution and ghost fishing, restoring habitats, improving safety, diversifying catches and adding value to catches through marketing and processing.
Dr Bryony Townhill, lead co-ordinator of the Grenada Fisheries: Adapting to Climate Change report card and Climate Change Scientist at Cefas said: “Following on from work on climate adaptation in Caribbean fisheries, this work focuses in on Grenada, and what can be done to tackle the climate crisis. There is a lot of adaptation action already underway, and here we look at what more can be done both by fisherfolk and by policymakers and managers. We hope that the card can be used to plan and implement actions that reduce the risk of fisherfolk to climate change, increase the sustainability of fishing while also improving the marine environment.”
The report card is a result of collaboration between the Grenada Fisheries Division, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), and the UK’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), and was funded by the UK Government as part of the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme.
- The CME Programme brought together 3 of the UK’s world-class multidisciplinary marine organisations: Cefas, the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office and the National Oceanography Centre to enable training and capacity building for Commonwealth Small States in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Oceans, allowing national and regional actors to make decisions for the region’s marine economy.
- For more information about CME Programme and to download the Climate Change Adaptation for Caribbean Fisheries and supporting document visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/commonwealth-marine-economies-programme
- For more information on the work undertaken in Grenada through the CME Programme visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/commonwealth-marine-economies-cme-programme-grenada. This link will also take you to Grenada’s Maritime Economy Plan
- The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is an executive agency of the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) within the UK government. It provides ministers and government officials with impartial expert advice and evidence relating to marine and closely related environments and is a provider of UK statutory monitoring and inspection services, including national emergency response capabilities. For more information about the Cefas visit cefas.co.uk or follow @CefasGovUK
- Grenada Fisheries: Adapting to Climate Change: Cefas has been working with national and regional bodies to produce a report card focused on taking action. The report card provides highly accessible information on:
- Grenada climate change impacts and risk
- Changes being seen
- Climate change adaptation and climate-smart fisheries
- Adaptation action already underway
- Barriers to adaptation
The output is a 12-page report card.
British High Commission, Grenada