The Fifteenth Session of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 26 to 28 March 2014. The meeting was kindly hosted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and officially opened by H.E. Anthony Carmona President and H.E. Devant Maharaj, Minister for Food Production of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Commission considered the review of the state of fisheries and aquaculture in the WECAFC region in document WECAFC/XV/2014/2. Members appreciated the report, described additional information available and offered to supply it to the Secretariat. The EU offered to make available to the Commission the data and information of all its members fishing in the WECAFC area, in order to contribute to the improvement of scientific advice. Members underlined the needs for: improved data and information collection; the reduction of uncertainty levels on the state of the fisheries resources; and incorporation of members’ management efforts in the review, especially for the main commercial species. It was acknowledged that declining catches could be an indication of management decisions rather than of overfishing. On the other hand inflated production data that is contrary to the known status of given stocks could trigger the misinterpretation of data and result in its erroneous use. Noting that the status report focuses on the countries that harvest the most fish, it was emphasized that the special needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) should be taken into account as well and that a separate reporting mechanism for SIDS should eventually be created.