Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) played a major role in the Fishers Forum of the 66th Annual Meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) held in Corpus Christi, Texas, from 4-8 November 2013. GCFI is TBTI collaborator, and the theme of the 2013 Fishers Forum was “Collaborative science towards sustainable fisheries” which fit well with Working Group 4 (WG4) on “Enhancing the stewardship”. TBTI fully sponsored the participation of two Gladding Memorial Award (GMA) winners, fishers Andres Maldonado from Puerto Rico and Angelica Mendez from Guatemala, who made presentations in the conference. They also assisted WG4 leader Patrick McConney and other GCFI organisers with the fishers’ field trip to nearby Gulf ports and with the fishers’ action planning session to organise new activities. This year GCFI awarded commercial fisher Eddie Toomer from Florida the GMA in recognition of his lifetime commitment to sustainable fisheries including the development of the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) to reduce shrimp trawl by-catch. Eddie, like Andres and Angelica, is an excellent example of a fisher who is enhancing fisheries stewardship in a tangible way. GCFI and TBTI wish GMA winners to serve the region as fisher ambassadors.
For further information, visit www.gcfi.org.
Winner of the 2013 Gladding Memorial Award (GMA), Eddie Toomer (second from left) next to his wife, Andrea, and four previous GMA winners (L-R, Andres Maldonado from Puerto Rico, Angelica Mendez from Guatemala, Don DeMaria from USA and Mitchell Lay from Antigua and Barbuda) (Photo: J. Corsaut).