The Fisheries Department of the Agriculture Ministry has uncovered in recent research the need for an extensive maritime policy which extends to all Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries, since many marine issues are large scale and cannot be contained by a single country.Researcher at the Fisheries Department, Mikhail AmsterdamThe research was conducted by Mikhail Amsterdam, as he highlighted that the Caribbean was the second largest region affected by climate change. Adding to that, the increased warming has caused a loss of coral life, which in turn affects the fishing industry.“The wider Caribbean region is actually made up of three large marine ecosystems which comprise … approximately 7,000,000 square kilometres of area to cover, of which 70 per cent is oceans and seas…Upon investigating this area, we would have realised that the wider Caribbean area is considered to be the second most-affected area in terms of climate change impact with over 75 per cent of the area being affected by sea level rise, and, of course, the most important resource to the area – fisheries is being affected due to the loss of coral.”Some of the challenges in combating these issues include territorial disputes among countries, the restricted authorisation of responsible agencies, and conservation. A regional database was cited as one of the needed tools to deploy resources to these areas by maritime planning. In common scenarios, the information retrieved by individual agencies is not shared with foreign counterparts.“Their (agencies) storage are often separate, and there is need for a regional dataset with regard to marine issues so that planning can be made from that situation. This also trickles down to a national level, the need for a database which covers most of the information,” he insisted.According to Amsterdam, these problems are expansive, and understanding how Caricom applies to management on a regional level would be helpful.“There is the need for having an integrated maritime policy in Caricom, as it would be useful in terms of dealing with all the cross-cutting issues within the maritime space,” the researcher added.According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), marine species affected by climate change include plankton – which forms the basis of marine food chains; corals; fish; polar bears; walruses; seals; sea lions; penguins and seabirds.”The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a rise of between 1.4 degrees Celsius and 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, making it likely that some special animals will be eliminated from existence.