The Billfish Foundation (TBF) regularly seeks out and participates in conferences to learn and discuss regional fisheries issues with scientists, policy makers, and local communities. In early November, TBF attended the 67th Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference (GFCI) in Barbados. This annual event provides a perfect forum for scientists, students, government representatives, fishery managers, and conservation organizations from the region to present and discuss their research findings and concerns.
Peter Chaibongsai and Roxane De Waegh represented TBF at the conference. De Waegh presented her work on the collection of fisheries data from all stakeholders for scientists and policy makers in the region. De Waegh spoke on the importance of incorporating all users, like recreational and small-scale fishermen, to collect vital fisheries data and be a part of the decision making process. The paper highlighted the importance of all resource users involved in both the post and pre harvest fishing industry sectors, in hopes of obtaining a baseline of statistical catch data. Without a baseline composed of actual numbers, policy makers and fisheries managers have no way to manage their resources efficiently. De Waegh’s paper also discussed TBF encouragement of active regional participation in fisheries management issues for all users.
During the conference, Chaibongsai and De Waegh had the opportunity to speak with the government officials from numerous nations like Colombia, Japan, Netherland Antilles, and Panama, as well as non-profit organization representatives, research institutions and regional fishermen. TBF’s Chaibongsai said, “This conference consistently provides TBF with a good venue to discuss current and future problems with a multitude of stakeholders in the region.”
The conference again provided an excellent opportunity for TBF to network with a wide variety of interests in the beautiful and culturally diverse Gulf and Caribbean Basin. TBF is looking forward to attend the next conference in Panama in 2015. To learn more about this event go to: http://www.gcfi.org/index.php.