The institute was established by the Charter in 1974 by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana with technical assistance from the UNDP/FAO.
It was incorporated as a Regional Body in 1975 under the laws of Trinidad and Tobago. Act #59 of 1975
The withdrawal of UNDP/FAO technical assistance in 1977 and the inability of the partnering governments to maintain their financial contributions resulted in a decision by the Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago that the institute continue its operations as a national institute under the aegis of then Ministry of Food Production and Marine Exploitation.
With government’s renewed focus on food security, CFTDI has re-positioned itself to respond to the training and development demands specifically with reference to the fisheries sector.
With the development of a new Strategic Plan for the period 2010 – 2014, the institute is geared towards building strategic resilience.
Over the last three decades CFTDI has continued to operate under the purview of the Ministry of Food Production to deliver training and development programmes to the Fisheries and Maritime sectors, both nationally and regionally. During this period a total of some thirty thousand comprising both national and regional individuals were beneficiaries of the CFTDI’s training programmes and technical services. The full complement of training and development courses is listed on the Courses Page.
A Technical Co-operation Project (TCP) between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Government of Japan via the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was initiated in 1995. The purpose of this project was to strengthen institutional capacity through counterpart training locally and in Japan and to provide state of the art fishing technologies. This technical assistance was extended throughout the region with the CFTDI taking a lead role. This TCP concluded in 2006. However, CFTDI has continued to service the training needs of regional fisheries personnel through other arrangements.
The preparation of the Strategic Plan involved extensive stakeholder consultation both nationally and with regional counterparts. The National Stakeholders included representatives from Fishing Organisations, Fisheries Administrations, Tobago House of Assembly, and the Private Sector; whereas, the Regional counterpart agencies included Fisheries Divisions of Barbados, St. Lucia, Suriname and the FAO.