The Caribbean Fish Sanctuary Partnership Initiative (C-FISH) is a project aimed at strengthening community-based fish sanctuaries (marine reserves or no-take- zones) by providing resources, training and alternative livelihood opportunities in countries across the Caribbean. The project will establish a private-public partnership - involving large companies in the tourism sector, governments, communities and regional institutions – that will implement a framework of supporting activities and develop an innovative financing mechanism to support community-based fish sanctuaries that have been shown to increase the productivity and biodiversity of coastal ecosystems and their resilience to climate change.
The C-FISH Initiative
The C-FISH Initiative was developed out of the CARIBSAVE Climate Change Risk Atlas (CCCRA) that examined the vulnerability of Caribbean communities and ecosystems to the accelerating impacts of climate change in 15 CARICOM countries. The CCCRA identified an opportunity for developing a public‐private partnership in the tourism, fisheries and craft sectors that would provide lasting benefits to communities, businesses and the management of natural resources across the Caribbean. The C‐FISH Initiative has the support of Virgin Holidays and the Travel Foundation, who commissioned a detailed feasibility study (Brown and Day, 2011) and pilot projects in Jamaica. Several large companies in the tourism sector, including Sandals Resorts International, Island Outpost, Royal Caribbean Cruises International, resort owners in St Lucia, as well as regional institutions (UNEP, IUCN, GCFI), have also endorsed the initiative and have offered to assist in developing the operational mechanisms of the fund-raising component of this initiative.
The C-FISH Initiative will focus on 4 main areas of activity:
- To build the capacity of the organisations mandated to manage fish sanctuaries (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community-based Organizations (CBOs), Fishermen’s Associations) through the provision of grants and training programmes
- To promote alternative livelihoods and the development of a new financing mechanism for fish sanctuaries in partnerships with leading players in the tourism sector (Virgin Holidays, Sandals Resorts International, Travel Foundation, Royal Caribbean Cruises)
- To improve communication, education and public awareness of the benefits of fish sanctuaries with the use of short videos and Information and Communication Technology.
- To develop new tools and technologies for monitoring fish populations using underwater video (Aquacam Research Programme).
The C-FISH Initiative will establish a sustainable financing mechanism (The C-FISH Fund) to support community-based fish sanctuaries. This fund will capture and leverage the increasing willingness of tourists, tour operators and resort owners to actively participate in supporting the livelihoods of vulnerable communities and the management of coastal resources. The private sector partners will provide in-kind support for the execution of this 4-year project, after which it is envisaged the C-FISH Initiative will become self-financing. The implementation of the C-FISH Initiative will be phased, starting in Jamaica and Grenada in Year 1, then expanded to other islands.
The C-FISH will be managed to ensure coordination with other regional activities that support MPAs, such as those undertaken under the Caribbean Challenge, Caribbean Environment Programme of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP-CEP), Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Management Network and Forum(CaMPAM), Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI), Centre for Resource Management and Environment Studies (CERMES), etc.