2nd meeting of the OSPESCA/WECAFC/CRFM/CFMC Working Group on Caribbean Spiny Lobster, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 21-23 March 2018.
The second meeting of the OSPESCA/WECAFC/CRFM/CFMC working group on Caribbean Spiny Lobster took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 21 to 23 March 2018. The status of the Caribbean spiny lobster fishery was presented in the subregions of OSPESCA and the CRFM, as well as in Brazil, Cuba, the United States and Mexico. Delegates also learned about the progress in the implementation and definition of indicators of subcomponent 4A related to spiny lobster in the CLME+Strategic Action Plan and the preparation and contents of the SOMEE Report. A new expanded and updated proposal of a regional plan for the management of Caribbean lobster prepared in the context of the Ecolobster+sub-project of the CLME+project was also presented. In the same context, a harmonized system of data collection and evaluation of lobster stocks that allows for minimum common elements among countries for purposes of comparing results and estimating the spiny lobster stock status was presented. Additionally, advances in the design and implementation of a proposed regional standard for traceability of fishery products, with emphasis on the Caribbean lobster fishery, were shown. Terms of Reference of the working group were discussed and updated, and the 2016-2018 work plan was adopted. The working group also adopted a new definition in the identification and distribution of spiny lobster stocks in the Greater Caribbean. Meeting recommendations were addressed to the Interim Coordination Mechanism for Sustainable Fisheries then the Scientific Advisory Group for review and submission to the next Commission session. Although sixteen recommendations were made, the following are considered of highest priority and interest to the presentation to the Commission: 1. Based on the elements made available and discussed over the last four years, in terms of scientific knowledge, methods and relevant measures, management measures that were collectively agreed by the working group and actions under the Strategic Actions Program (SAP) of the CLME+ region should be implemented. 2. WECAFC Members consider scaling-up the OSPESCA initiative on common assessment methodologies for stock assessment to the entire Caribbean region or wherever relevant in coherent sub-regions hosting stocks of Caribbean Spiny Lobster. 3. WECAFC, in close coordination with FAO-OSPESCA-CRFM Interim Coordination Mechanism for Sustainable Fisheries, adopt and implement the updated Regional Management and Conservation Plan of Caribbean Spiny Lobster, taking into consideration the work by the OSPESCA Ecolobster+ sub-project. 4. WECAFC Members are encouraged to develop and implement Catch Documentation Schemes in accordance with voluntary guidelines adopted or traceability systems for fishery products to improve the traceability of Caribbean spiny lobster products through the value chain and support the combat against illegal fishing, food safety and data generation in support of decision making for fishery management.