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.
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 advisors. 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: