Volume 66

Lessons Learned: Reflections and Next Steps –The Case of Organising the Conset Bay Fishing Community in Barbados

Selliah, N., K. Blackman, T. Sinckler, P. McConney, and S-A. Cox
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Date: November, 2013

Pages: 110 – 118

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty six Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Corpus Christy

Country: USA


This paper reports on one component of the project “Up-scaling Sustainable Resource Management in Coastal Watershed Communities of Barbados’ National Park and System of Open Spaces” which focused on conducting a preliminary institutional assessment and strengthening initiative in the fishing community of Conset Bay, St. John, Barbados. The project was a collaborative effort by the Government of Barbados, United Nations Environment Programme, and The University of the West Indies. Past initiatives to organise the fisherfolk and present institutional arrangements for Conset Bay were reviewed through desktop study and both formal and informal interviews with key fisheries stakeholders, including the Conset Bay fisherfolk. The review indicated that while this community is close-knit and socially cohesive, past initiatives including the establishment of cooperatives and fisherfolk organisations had not resulted in sustainable community groups. However, the interest in collective action to form and sustain a fisherfolk organisation remained relatively strong. In order for fisherfolk to effectively engage with other fisheries governance stakeholders and resolve existing fisheries issues, the project attempted to assist the community in identifying some governance mechanisms more suited to their current conditions. The community determined that an informal group of interested members was the best option, and the Conset Bay advocacy group was formed. A number of capacity building activities were conducted to engage and strengthen the group. The paper concludes with an evaluation of progress – what was achieved? – what were the lessons learned?

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