July 24, 2017: Work on the outdated Fisheries Legislation is ongoing – this fact influenced the discussions had on Monday 24th July, 2017 when Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries hosted a visiting team from the Rome headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) - Mr. Pio Manoa, FAO Legal Consultant (Rome) and Ms. Viviana Gutierrez-Delgado, FAO Legal Officer (Rome).  They were accompanied by Ms. Marion Alleyne, FAO Assistant Representative (Trinidad and Tobago/Suriname) and Mr. Devern Calvin-Smith, UNMSDF Project Coordinator/Programme Assistant (Trinidad and Tobago).


The FAO Rome representatives are here on a Mission for the period July 24 – 28 - as part of the FAO-TCP-F Project to ‘Strengthen the Fisheries Legislation in Trinidad and Tobago; Focus on IUU Fishing’ which was approved with a start date of 1st July 2017.  During this Mission, coordinated by the Fisheries Division of the Ministry, a Draft Work Plan for the Project will be reviewed to ‘solidify what will be done up to December 2018’.


Senator Rambharat shared with the visiting team that ‘the current legislation is so outdated that it is difficult to fix; noting that ‘our priorities are Legislation, Port Security Measures and the Inspectorate; [and] all three require Inter-Agency cooperation’.  In light of the ongoing consultative process, plans are afoot to have a Draft Fisheries Bill ready by the end of October 2017.


A two-day training session, hosted by the FAO, on ‘International Fisheries Law’ will be hosted this week, with beneficiaries being the legal representatives of the Agencies represented on the Cabinet-appointed Committee on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.


Senior Ministry officials at the meeting included Mrs. Angela Siew, Permanent Secretary; Ms. Elizabeth Mohammed, Director - Fisheries; Mrs. Natasha Hosein-Baksh, Director - Legal Services; and Ms. Lara Ferreira, Senior Fisheries Officer (Ag.)