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Caribbean | Early Warning System to Help Caribbean Fishermen Deal With ClimateFishermen who depend on fishing for a living need an early warning system Change

Fishermen who depend on fishing for a living need an early warning system

Fishermen who depend on fishing for a living need an early warning system

The challenges of climate change and variability faced by fishermen and women in four Caribbean countries are to be addressed through early warning and emergency response tools being developed under the Caribbean Regional Track of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR).

The information, communication and technology (ICT) solution, which is being developed by the ICT4Fisheries Consortium in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), will work to reduce risks to fishers’ lives and livelihoods posed by climate change and climate variability. The ICT4Fisheries Consortium is a multidisciplinary team comprising members from The University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Cape Town and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations.

Possible impacts of long term climate change trends and short term extreme weather events on Caribbean fisheries include damage to fishing and aquaculture community infrastructure, including roads, harbours, farms and houses caused by sea level rise and stronger storms, as well as unsafe fishing conditions and loss of life at sea as a result of strong storms and hurricanes, according to a 2015 study published by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Other hazards influenced by climate, such as sargassum seaweed, are also of deep concern to fishers.

The ICT-based early warning system is expected to reduce fisher folks’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Using an application for mobile phones, fishers will be able to receive early warnings of risky weather and sea conditions.

The mobile application will also be used to encourage fishers to share their local knowledge to support and improve climate-smart fisheries planning, management and decision-making. The system will be integrated within existing national disaster risk management and emergency response frameworks, and its main focus will be on communications.

The new system will be tested in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Dominica and St. Lucia and it will take into account the specific situations of target countries.

“ICT4Fisheries will not only develop and deploy the tools but will also provide training in their use and administration to country and regional level stakeholders.  The system should be in place by 2018,” according to an official statement issued here.

The Caribbean PPCR is a regional programme that consists of six individual country pilots in Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, and a regional track of activities which supports resilience building in these countries and, will also provide benefits to the wider Caribbean.

Credit: Wired JA Online News
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