The government has partnered with the United Kingdom to launch a £317,000 project designed to promote sustainable fisheries management in the Virgin Islands.

The UK-funded Darwin Initiative recently announced that the project would be funded under this year’s Darwin Plus scheme, which provides grants to environmental efforts in the UK overseas territories, according to Government Information Services.

The initiative will be delivered over the next three years by the UK Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the VI government, and the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), GIS stated.

“This project will assist us to better manage our fisheries resources, which are an important part of the Virgin Islands culture and economy,” said Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley. “We are happy for this partnership with Cefas and CANARI and the technical expertise these agencies bring to our shores.”

The project, he added, will include working with fishers to help them organise and understand their role in sustainable fisheries.

Project aims

Other goals include reviewing and consolidating existing evidence, data and maps for the territory’s marine area, as well as producing a centralised fisheries database and evidence report in order to support future licensing and management decisions, according to GIS.

The initiative is also designed to strengthen fishers’ capacity and formalise a network to increase their participation in decision-making.

Capability also will be built within the government to support the ongoing management of the evidence base, GIS stated.

“We are delighted to be working with the government and fisheries stakeholders in the Virgin Islands to build on the progress already made on sustainable fisheries management,” said Cefas Chief Scientist Stuart Rogers. “We understand the importance of evidence to support good decision-making and are looking forward to working in partnership with managers and the community.”

For more information call Agriculture and Fisheries Director Theodore James at