Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Individuality Vs. Communal by Andrew Johnston

Article Sent by Andrew Johnston, Artisanal Fishers Association-South Africa on 14 April 2010- Individuality vs. Communal
A person that thinks only of himself at the expense of the less fortunate is not only an immoral human being but also a man of no integrity and honor. The natural resources of a country cannot be individualized through privatization, for the benefit of a few; surely it is wickedly tyrannical to take the fishing resources away from the fishing communities and place it into the hand of powerful interests. We have a system – the Individual Quota System - that is forever manacled to the apartheid fishing policy of the past and is known worldwide as becoming a privilege for the rich and as a curse of the poor. This system is not a just or fair distribution of the fishing resources but an advancement of inequity, and the enhancement between the haves and the have-nots with corruption, crime, conflict, food insecurity and poaching being the horrific result thereof. It shows no respect for the culture, dignity and human rights of the traditional /artisanal fishing communities and has taken away from them what is rightfully theirs. It has led to the development of a culture of unethical and immoral behavior because in the pursuit of quotas a new breed of opportunistic self-styled leaders and undemocratic organizations have emerged, who without shame continue to promote individual rights. In a clandestine and corrupt manner, they continue to marginalize the genuine bona-fide fishers with the biggest causality being the vulnerable poor fish workers. Fishing communities consider themselves as the rightful recipients [a property right] of fishing access rights because of a heritable bondage, economic dependence, customary and traditional franchise. Deriving from their historical sustainable harvesting of fish stocks, it is an accepted norm in most developing nations that they have a legitimate claim to the inshore resources. However, it is now becoming increasing apparent that under the promotion of individual rights [privatization] the resource as their common property is being challenged as never before. We are at a defining moment where for the first time a small-scale policy that focuses on small-scale fishers has been established through a democratic process with the genuine stakeholders. It should have dramatic consequences and if implemented it will transform their lives and human conditions, it will address the inequities and unjust practices that they had to endure over these many years. It is a form of traditional fishing tenure incorporating T.U. R. F. {territorial use rights], interacting with other areas resulting from fish migrations, embracing co-management system and falling under Community Development Allocation programs [C.D.A.]. The subtle attempt to insert in the draft small-scale policy a sector of either individual or communal fishing rights while the task team specifically and unanimously advanced only communal rights as was their mandate is mischievous and subversive and derails the whole democratic process. This will once again allow for fishing rights thieves to fraudulently lay claim to quotas of which to purely to enrich themselves alone, thus stifling any empowerment of the vulnerable fishing communities.
Extracts from Prof Parzival Copes. Simon Fraser University Canada ;
“Particularly noticeable among the negative externalities of ITQ systems are several that may be traced to fisher behavior in response to perverse incentives induced by these systems. They are identified and discussed in the following paragraphs. Their direct impacts generally are in the nature of stock and harvest losses. Indirectly they impact adversely on the welfare of fishing communities, insofar as harvest losses translate into income losses. In addition they have distributional impacts, where the fortunes of various fishers are differentially affected, in part by behavior of some fishers that is illegal or considered unethical. A resulting sense of inequity may damage social relations in fishing communities and cause fragmentation.
Quota Busting and Poaching
An obvious weakness of the system is the need to prevent fishers from taking more than their allowed quota of a species [quota busting] or from taking fish for which they have no quota at all [poaching]
High Grading
To obtain the greatest net value from a species quota, the fisher naturally will want to fill the quota with fish of that species that fetches the highest price per pound. This provides an incentive to discard fish [usually dead or dying] that has a lower value per unit weight, because it is of a non-preferred size or of lesser quality for one reason or another. It is recognized that high-grading takes place in many IQ fisheries, on a smaller or larger scale, and that it represents an unjustifiable waste of fish.
Price Dumping
In many fisheries port prices for fish vary considerably from day to day [or within a day] according to the vagaries of local supply and demand conditions. In an Individual quota fishery it is possible for a fisher returning with a catch to hear on the radio that the port price has dropped drastically. It is known under these circumstances some fishers will dump their catch so that it will not count against quota, in the hope and expectation that prices will be much better on a subsequent occasion. Obviously, this practice damages stocks. The incentive to dump does not hold in a non-quota fishery, where landing the catch will not reduce opportunities for future catches at higher prices.
Ratcheting of quotas
The precarious nature of the fishery inclines fishers, on the whole, to have notably short time horizons and high discount rates. To paraphrase a well-worn saying, “A fish in the hand is worth ten in the water” Thus the surety of an immediate catch weighs heavily in relation to speculation on a better catch in the future. Consequently, fishers may inclined to press for increases in the T.A.C. [and thus in ITQ] and to resist reductions, unless they are persuaded of an imminent danger of stock collapse, in which case they may be most insistent on closing a fishery. For political and other reasons fisheries managers and politicians are often sensitive to pressure from quota holders. At times, against biological advice, they will give in to such pressure and increase permissible catches, or fail to lower them when needed. Thus one may observe a tendency for quotas to be ratcheted upwards when stocks are stable or growing, but often a failure for them to drop when stocks are declining, [Duncan 1993] This , of course, is contrary to the requirements of the precautionary approach. It is true that upward ratcheting of TAC’s may also occur for the same reasons in non-IQ fisheries. However as argued above, other systems typically are better able to react quickly to evidence of declining stocks with swift closures, so that IQ fisheries may be expected to be more at risk from upward ratcheting.
Data fouling
Quota-busting and poaching are illegal and operators engaging in these practices undoubtedly will fail to report them. Officially recorded catches therefore will understate real catches and the real drain they impose on fish stocks. Discarding of fish through high-grading and price dumping may or may not be illegal, but it is a rule not reported and therefore represents an unrecorded and largely unknown drain on fish stock. All of these problem practices have the effect of “fouling” the data used by scientists to calculate the TAC that need to be prescribed to ensure that fisheries remain sustainable at high catch levels. Unfortunately scientists have sometimes assumed that what they do not know concerning drains on the stock does not exists. By either ignoring or underestimating unreported and discarded catches, they are liable to assume higher stock densities than actually exists and consequently recommend catch levels that are not sustainable. In any case with “fouled” data they will not be in a position to calculate TAC.s with an appropriate degree of accuracy, which is liable to adverse consequences for fisheries management.

…………………Parzival Copes. -- Emeritus Professor of Economics……….

· Fulfills both concrete and abstract human needs.
· Promotes collective democratic decision-making.
· Creates awareness of the community’s situation and ability to address their situation.
· Becomes need and objective orientated.
· Enhances leadership and organizational ability.
· Rich in self-esteem.
· Promotes food security.
· Reduces conflict.
· Poverty alleviation.
· Maximizes greater benefits to science /research.
· Greater access to credit and finance.
· Decrease poaching through community policing.
· Provides opportunities for community based environmental monitoring.
· Contributes to economic growth.
· Provides opportunities for women.
· Stops dumping and over-catching.
· Maximizes the sustainable benefits to the nation.
· Creates more employment opportunities.
· Formalizes the vulnerable informal sector to enable them to receive government social securities and protection.
· Minimizes the risk of monopolization.
· A better, fair and equitable distribution of the resource.
· In line with national and international instruments /obligations.
· Compliments the value of indigenous and traditional knowledge.
· Restructures, transforms and addresses the imbalances created by apartheid.
· Allows for effective participation in fisheries management.
· Enables better safety conditions.
· Safeguards the social, economic, cultural and political rights of the fishing communities.
· Allows for the promotion on further community activities.
· Strengthens the Monitoring. Control and Regulations of the ocean.
· Strengthens a better and harmonious social order

I am not going to delve on the negatives but to give you the solutions to the problems that we find ourselves in. The expectations of the people are tremendous and their hopes are extremely high.
Recognizing that the traditional/subsistence/ artisanal fishers are been marginalized, abused, and oppressed socially and economically it is imperative to;
*Ensure the rights of traditional/ artisanal fishers to access to marine resources and provide local fisher folk priority rights to the marine resources on which they depend for their livelihood and food.
*To stop and review the unfair fishing allocations and implement genuine true transformation in the fishing industry.
*Promote development that should fulfill the needs of the poorest and this should involve these people who are dependent upon fishing for their livelihood – their natural technical knowledge should be respected and built upon.
* To empower the bona-fide small-scale fishers not merely by unscrupulous schemes but by involving them in decision-making processes and in the implementation of those decisions.
*Replace those officials within the government and the promoters of the I.T.Q. system who are just hell bent on retaining the status quo of yesteryear and of enriching themselves personally stop this atrocity - for the fishing communities it is a matter between life and death.
* Implement the Community Development Allocation system or the C.R.E. A.D. system [Controlled Equitable Access Distribution] as promoted by the National Task Team.

This document is the work of;
Andrew Johnston [Chairperson Artisanal Fishers Association, South Africa} 13th April 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment