Caribbean countries sign Copenhagen Declaration, launch Blue Justice regional hub

COPENHAGEN, Norway, (CMC) – Two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries have signed on to the Copenhagen Declaration as the region launched the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the use of innovation and digital technology to fight fisheries crimes.

The regional hub to be headquartered in Jamaica was launched at the conclusion of the two-day International Blue Justice Conference 2023 that ended on Friday with Barbados and Dominica being the latest signatories to the declaration, an international initiative against transnational organised crime in the global fishing industry.

Specialist Director in the Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries in Norway, Gunnar Stølsvik, commended the Caribbean for the passage of the Ministerial Resolution.

“It shows that that region is really taking this seriously and has a clear roadmap in the implementation of this… going from words to action,” he said, adding that apart from Dominica and Barbados, the other signatories are the Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Madagascar, Somalia, Angola, Tuvalu, and Guinea.

Norway said that with the new signings, the total number of signatories to the Copenhagen Declaration had surpassed 60.

“On behalf of all the members, I will, as depositor for the Copenhagen Declaration thank you all for your strong support, and I will also thank our new members for their support,” said Skjæran.

The establishment of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub in Jamaica is the latest in a series of advancements by the Belize-based Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and its member state in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and transnational organised crime in the fishing industry.

Jamaica’s Agriculture & Fisheries Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr, outlined the importance of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub to food security, national security, and social mobility.

He said that reducing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing will translate to the sustainability of fish stocks and improved livelihoods for fishers.

Charles explained that although Jamaica will host the Hub, it will also identify and appoint at least one superuser on the Blue Justice Community to follow up with other registered Caribbean countries to connect under the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub. National focal points will also be identified.

In May 2021, the CRFM Ministerial Council at its 15th Regular Meeting adopted the resolution regarding the Copenhagen Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry and the Blue Justice Initiative.

In October of the same year, 12 CRFM member states signed the declaration together.

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