A sustainable world, where every person has genuine concern for human and environmental health, and is empowered to act.
To promote sustainable development, sound environmental management, accountability, consultation, transparency and community empowerment throughout the Caribbean and the wider world.
In 1996, concerned citizens and fishermen formed a group named “Fishermen and Friends of the North Coast” in an attempt to sensitize the government and the public in Trinidad and Tobago on the environmental issues impacting our Northern Coast and consequently, the fishermen in the area.
FFOS worked together with local fishers to mobilize support and increase awareness of the dangers of improperly regulated shrimp-trawling throughout local communities.
In April 1997, the group decided to change their name to “Fishermen and Friends of the Sea” (FFOS), in order to reflect the broader mandate that consequently emerged.
There was a growing recognition both at a regional and international level of the role and importance on NGOs in environmental governance and decision making. Consequently, in the year 2000, the membership took a decision to incorporate FFOS as a non-profit organisation under the Companies Act 1995. This was in an attempt to put a more formal structure into place that would help to develop a reputation, protect the FFOS name and aid in the many imbalances that existed regarding the representation of local persons in decisions affecting the community.
Over the years, FFOS has widened the scope of its objectives, as the overall health of the environment of Trinidad and Tobago was just as significant as the fisheries.
Today this organization continues to advocate for important matters affecting Trinidad and Tobago’s precious natural resources, ecosystems and people.
OUR CORE VALUES “I ACT“
Why we act:
We act on behalf of vulnerable ecosystems and marginalized communities who have been robbed of their voice. We act because without them, we do not exist.
I – Integrity
A – Accountability
C – Collaboration
T – Transparency
How we act:
Our values define our culture and our identity. We act with integrity, accountability, collaboration and transparency, and we encourage others to do so as well.
What we do:
We influence economic, social and environmental law; the support agents for sustainable development.
Since inception, FFOS has been engaged in advocacy work for projects throughout Trinidad and Tobago. Such projects include the Toco Port and the Charlotteville Port; the Atlantic LNG Trains I, II, III and IV; the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago expansion project at Invaders Bay which involved the clearing of wetlands; the alternative development plans for Sea Lots, Port-of-Spain and Forres Park; developments in Las Cuevas, Maracas and Sea Lots; the National Energy Corporation Port at Claxton Bay for the Essar Steel Complex; and the Alutrint Aluminum Smelter in La Brea.
Most recently, FFOS has actively pursued litigation to ban shrimp trawling in environmentally sensitive areas; to regulate seismic surveying in key fisheries; and to appeal the Water Pollution (Fees) Amendments Regulations, 2006, before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, to clarify the meaning and application of the Polluter Pays Principle in Trinidad and Tobago.
Our Action Areas
Public Education and Community Empowerment
Public Interest Action
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
FFOS has an informal membership of approximately 2000 community based members and grassroots constituents from across Trinidad and Tobago, many of whom we have represented through litigative action. Our membership is sourced from our work with and/or within vulnerable and marginalized communities; local fisher folk associations; Village Councils, community grassroots organizations, social and environmental activists; and legal and scientific experts or advisers. Our members meet regularly within their own associations and communities, and also with FFOS.
Our Membership and Board of Directors offer their expertise and service voluntarily. FFOS has five Directors, including a Chairman, a Treasurer, a Corporate Secretary, and two additional Directors. Decisions are taken by consensus and each Director has an equal say. There are four levels of management as follows:
- The Board is the highest level of decision making.
- Decisions taken by the Board are executed and managed by the Corporate Secretary.
- The Corporate Secretary is supported by an Environmental research Officer and Administrator who manages day to day operations. Meetings of members are organized by the Administrator as well.
- At meetings, specific roles and responsibilities are assigned to members where specific projects are to be carried out. As required, technical, administrative and or legal support is hired directly by our Directors. In the past, our members have raised cash or employed donation sheets to fund each separate legal or community-organized action or event, with added contributions from our Board of Directors. Progress is reported monthly back to the Board by the Secretary.
Terrence Beddoe, President
Cecil Mc Lean, Vice President
Gary Aboud, Corporate Secretary
Merylle Mahabir, Treasurer
Lisa Premchand, Programme Director