The Barbados Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) 2004-2006 was published as a blueprint for the fisheries sector. This FMP covered the period 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2006. The FMP contained information on the status of the local fishing industry and the planning processes used in developing the plan. It outlined strategies for the development and management of the fishing industry to ensure its sustainable contribution to the nutritional, economic and social well being of Barbadians. During the plan-period the FMP formed the basis for fisheries policy, management and administration. It guided the formulation and implementation of fisheries legislation. The FMP may be reviewed and revised at any time during the plan-period.

Importance of the fishing industry
The local fishing industry is of great economic and social importance. During the past 60 years the fishing industry has made tremendous strides to become an area of significant economic activity with several types of vibrant small businesses, including fish processing, fish retailing and wholesaling, boat building, fish export and fish distribution. These businesses provide employment and income for an estimated 6,000 persons directly and indirectly, many of whom are self-employed. The industry is also an avenue for earning vital foreign exchange through fish exports, in addition to being a major contributor to local food security.

Need for planning
Fisheries contribute to the nutritional, economic and social well being of Barbadians. The local fisheries currently are open-access. All Barbadians have access to the resources and no one person owns the resources. People may have little incentive to conserve the fish resources. Fishers will be inclined to compete with each other to catch as many fish as possible. Fishery resources, though renewable, are not infinite. Consequently, it is imperative that effective management measures be put in place to prevent overexploitation of fisheries resources, to rebuild those that are depleted and to ensure sustainability of the resources for present and future generations of Barbadians. Effective management will require new ways of operating and managing the fisheries. In this new paradigm, management of the local fisheries resources will no longer be solely the dictate of Government. Instead, fisheries management will require collaboration of, and sharing of responsibility by, all stakeholders in the fishing industry. This will be done within the parameters set out in the local legislation and various international conventions and agreements to which Barbados is party since many fisheries resources are shared amongst several countries, it is important that arrangements and organisations for fisheries management are used.