Friday, September 10, 2010

A New Fisheries Policy has Been Drafted for South Africa

Serge Raemaekers of South Africa has sent a message about Drafted and Gazetted New Fisheries Policy for South Africa.
WFFP leaders also engaged to this work and this is what Serge wrote to us.

A draft policy which was gazetted last week for public comment. Jackie, Naseegh, Merle and Serge have contributed to this policy and it is quite revolutionary in a way. However, it is still have many comments and concerns and will be compiling them in the few weeks for submission. The public comments period is 60 days. During that time, the fisheries authority is embarking on what they call “roadshows” whereby they present the draft to fishing communities along the coast.

Interesting times for South Africa and all eyes are on the fisheries authority as to how exactly they will start implementing this new governance.

Serge Raemaekers, PhD
Inshore/ Small-scale Fisheries Governance
Environmental Evaluation Unit
University of Cape Town

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Declaration of South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) Annual General Meeting (AGM)

4-6 September 2010
Nagarkot, Nepal
Fighting Unitedly against Poverty, Hunger and Injustice in South Asia
We, the members of SAAPE from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka met at the AGM from 4-6 Sep 2010 to deliberate on the theme- "fighting unitedly against poverty, hunger and injustices in South Asia" .We affirm our committment to `intervening’ on issues of poverty and exclusion contributing for the eradication of poverty and injustice, rejecting the neo-liberal development paradigm and economic strategies and striving for sustainable alternatives that are pro-poor people’.
Poverty in countries of South Asia is accompanied by disparity. The increase in the number of poor is common in all countries. However, this number only indicates the 'absolute poor'. The number would be far higher if other aspects of a dignified quality of life are considered. The problem of poverty, even in a big country like India that boasts of substantial economic growth, is persistent. Some sections seem to even lapse back into poverty. The situation is thus one of perpetuation of poverty.
There is reason to believe that the ruling elite in all our countries is enamoured by “economic growth” as the “be all and end all” of the development process. On the contrary, ground reality strongly indicates that even when the country registers high growth rate, there is huge exclusion and marginalisation. SAAPE feels that the time has come for all of us to work not only with the exploited classes but also with the excluded social groups.
We are profoundly saddened by several recent incidents which has had long lasting implications for the rights of people and their livelihood. The armed conlfict in Sri Lanka came to an end with a large number of people from Vanni being displaced and held in internment camps with restrictions imposed on their mobility and fundamental freedoms.
The current global crisis of climate change is a big challenge facing the South Asian countries which are witnessing increasing natural disasters causing devastating impacts. The recent floods in Pakistan are disrupting the lives of over 20 million people, nearly 12% of the population and this is a reminder of this gruesome reality.

We appreciate the historic judgement given by the supreme court of Bangladesh reviving secular character of the constitution and declaring past military regimes illegal. The court also made it clear that the World Bank does not enjoy any immunity. At the same time we are disappointed by the fact that the government of Bangladesh has succumbed to the pressure of the factory owners by imposing wages at a level much below the demand of the garment workers.
Democratic and human rights continue to be thereatened with the imposition of new regulations and the curtailment of civil society activities. In the rise of people’s resistance their leaders are threatened, and face extrajudicial killings and disappearances.
We are alarmed that the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in Sri Lanka is facilitating immense powers to the Executive virtually creating a Constituional dictatorship thereby threatening democratic parliamentry norms. It is also regretable that GOSL has failed to provide a long lasting political solution for the ethnic problems/national problems based on an effective power sharing model.
The economic crisis has been used to attack trade union struggles and curtail worker’s rights. We condemn the killing of two trade union leaders in Pakistan.
We condemn ethnic cleansing and demand unconditional release of all the political prisoners and repatriation and rehabilitation of the Bhutanese refugees to their homestead with dignity.
As South Asians, we watched with great appreciation the unique manner in which the Constituent Assembly of Nepal was created. We were particularly overjoyed with the introduction of proportionate representation and equal representation for women, and men in the Constituent Assembly, but today we are disappointed that the work of Constituent Assembly has come to a standstill because of the political impasse. We urge all concerned and especially the members of the Constituent Assembly to rise above narrow considerations reach consensus and put in place a Constitution which will be a trend setter for all other countries in South Asia and beyond. We call for an immediate resolution of the political impasse in Nepal for the consolidation of the democratic processes and introduction of effective agrarian reform
Similarly, we stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and Maldives in their struggle to achieve democracy and long lasting solutions for securing human rights and fundamental freedoms
The region continues to be militarised combined with nuclearisation.
We demand accountability from our political leaders. As demonstrated in Pakistan though natural and human induced calamities are a frequent occurrence in South Asia, the common element in all this is our shocking lack of preparedness (in physical, economic, administrative, legal and other aspects), coupled with a lack of long term vision, especially, to help the excluded groups.

We are disappointed with the south asain governments and SAARC as a body for their failure to develop a common regional disaster management policy and a mitigation plan. We urge the immediate adoption of a common plan and the establishment of a Task Force to handle disaters in the future arising from climate change and global warning.
We also demand the repudiation of all debts of Pakistan and provide the necessary resources and funds for relief and rehabilitation of communities affected by the recent floods.
Ad hoc approaches and an absence of a policy framework for relief and rehabilitation and reconstruction is a denial of the legitimate rights of the survivors. On the other hand, in a democratic polity the right to relief with dignity and development are the fundamental right of every disaster victim and it is the responsibility of the state and civil society to ensure that.

This is also a unique opportunity for South Asian countries to express their solidarity in terms of aid and political solidarity with the beleaguered Pakistan, and develop common disaster management mechanism in line with the relevant SAARC Charter.

Women in South Asia
The majority of women in South Asia remain excluded and impoverished. They form the bulk of the displaced in South Asia. The post conflict situations are fraught with increased insecurity, gender based violence and lack of protection which is directly linked to poverty.
We appreciate the efforts made by Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India to facilitate and recognise the greater and effective participation of women in politics and governance challenging the age old prohibitions of patriarchal ideology through legislative enactments and policies. It is regretable that Sri Lanka has not been able to achieve it’s heights in this regard and wish to express our support to all efforts taken by civil society and women’s groups working for urgent reforms in this area.
It is important to stress the need to respond immediately to specific needs of women affected by floods in Pakistan as our gesture of solidarity to empowerment of women in practice.
International and Regional Power Dimensions
We recognise the need to evolve consistent multi-pronged strategies to combat the influence of globalisation, continuing repression and militarisation in the name of war on terror, growing international re-alignments including India-US, and China, shrinking democratic space, marginalisation of human rights, unsustainable development paradigm.
Our Challenges...
Dominant development models and paradigms have failed. It has exhausted all possibilities. We see the accentuation of deprivation at all levels of the people. We see poverty as deprivation of capabilities of people which deny them freedom and human rights and keep them continously in a state of disempowerment social, economic and political.
We are aware that old slogans are not sufficient for organisation and mobilisation. We need to call for all exlcuded women, dalits, indigenous, all minorities ethnic, religious and linguistic based on our contemporary understanding to unite to struggle against poverty, hunger and injustice.
The fight for entitlements such as employment, food, education, health. housing, human security, social security, dignity and the like needs to be carried out through the agency of the exploited masses as well as the excluded social groups. SAAPE will work with excluded groups and associations of the poor to alert governments on their responsibilities and to bring a collective sense of social responsibility within the region for future reduction of poverty and the attendant risks of living in that condition for the millions of the poor in South Asia.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Development Within the Fisheries Community

In line with the new small-scale policy as proposed by the National Fisheries Task Team it should also focus on the future sustainable development of the larger majority of peoples within the fishing communities and gear towards the greater protection of the marine resources. It stresses the need to promote community rights and participation in the resource management, including development of co-management for protection, conservation and rehabilitation of the fishing resources with the emphasis on area/zonal management. It requires the need to develop a system towards the protection of fishing community rights, equity, and human rights. The whole concept of community development has been clearly misunderstood and badly implemented in the past, all because of the promotion of the privatization of the ocean resources by the Individual Transferable or Non- Transferable Quota System [I.T.Q.]. The whole nucleus has been on macro-economics and not the realization that at the micro-level there are a wide range of social, economic, cultural, food security, benefits that can be obtained especially within the fishing industry.There have been vague statements and unfulfilled advancements on job creation, poverty alleviation, transformation, equity, service delivery, and etc but
14.1…. Governments and Civil Society should transform existing systems of unequal ownership, access to and use of marine and coastal resources into systems based on sustainable and equitable use and access rights, and on poverty eradication.
14.2 …. Governments and Civil Society should guarantee the rights of traditional subsistence and artisanal fishers to access to marine and inland fisheries resources, and provide local fisheries dependent communities priority rights to the resources on which they depend for their livelihood.
15.3 …. Clear and fair procedures for participation must be put into place that ensure the involvement of the true representatives of local communities and major groups in all stages of their development.
15.4 …. The public, private and civil society sectors must collaborate in the design and introduction of education and capacity-building programmes that enhance effective participation in development decision-making.
15.5 …. Local communities must be the primary beneficiaries of these programmes of capacity-building for effective participation.
In the South African context small-scale/Artisanal fishers and their communities face major constraints and threats to any positive social and economic development and these are a major challenge for development;
Firstly wealth, power is not evenly distributed and academic knowledge and business skills are seriously lacking and those present Quota or rights holders are doing everything in their capacity to keep the status quo in place especially those who achieved the rights that they obtained during the apartheid years.
The greatest hurdle to overcome is the rent-seeking, money incentive ideology that now exists within our society. Small-scale fishing and those involved in it was once recognized as the lowest type “skollie” {unsophisticated} work by many of social standing, has through the recent Quota system become a winning lottery ticket for all sorts of people but not for the actual fishers themselves. So ingrained in the minds of the many of the people that the great financial gain derived from receiving “paper” quotas is that the vast majority of non-fishers would rather the Individual Quota system remain and ignore that there are numerous other systems in operation around the world. Then there are those who have received rights and become wealthy who would not be conducive to any transformation and turn a blind eye to equity, poverty alleviation and human rights. Competition from non-fisheries interests for access and use of these resources is increasing and this has to be addressed by a strict criteria.
With the Living Resources Act policy in order to achieve the objectives of equity, transformation and poverty alleviation the policy-makers did not deal with the social, economic and cultural needs of the fishers in a balanced way, with no monitoring to analyzing the serious negative effects of its implementation or formulation. The needs, aspirations and capacities of the small-scale fishing communities were completely ignored with the butcher, baker, candlestick maker and those in powerful positions along with their cronies obtaining most of the rights. In order to rectify this it is absolutely necessary if the development is to be success, to investigate and review all allocations and reallocate on the basis of restitution, transformation and poverty alleviation.
The Individual Transferable/Non Transferable Quota System and its huge fees has resulted in many losing their livelihood , extreme poverty, and a social vacuum where vulnerable poor have simply become fractured and unviable, in fact it has produced a human catastrophe. Food security has been reduced and the most peripheral fishing communities are in a severe state of despair with disorder, poaching and crime an accepted way of life. This has led to them becoming easy to manipulated or buy over with money payments/ loans by the opportunists and con-artists in order for them to achieve their immoral objectives and derail any empowerment of the disadvantaged peoples.
The acceptance of “fishing community stakeholders “that are undemocratic, self appointed leaders, marketers, and groups that are not from the actual activity of the harvesting community has continually led to opportunistic behavior and this will continue to derail and corrupt democracy and honest development.
Conflicts exists into the acceptance and the implementation and development of the small-scale fishing policy between the haves and have-nots and this will lead to direct friction between the two that will eventually lead to violent confrontation, and a way must be found to identify the problem and to resolve it.
In order to overcome these factors it is therefore necessary for the attitudes, skills, knowledge, resources, institutional organization and methodologies of intervention change significantly. Wealth generated by the legal entities as promoted by the new small-scale policy will make a significant contribution to the local economy and employment if the profits made are used for the benefit of the greater communities by the creation of alternative businesses and projects. This will require harmonization and integration of all departments within government including the private sector working within the framework of the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 of Johannesburg Summit and the Right to Adequate Food [FAO]. It should be noted that the major theme of Agenda 21 is the need to eradicate poverty by giving poor people more access to the resource they need to live sustainably and this is supported by Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Every endeavor should be made to register the legitimate traditional fish harvesters and the responsibility of them electing this “new” leadership overseen and run by government officials within a democratic environment. Prejudice against the poachers should be dismissed and they should be allowed to participate as stakeholders under an amnesty agreement. Zonation should be demarcated specifying the kind of vessel, gear and times that could be used with the full participation of the fishing communities, accepting their arrangements with other area management groups, {how, when and where}. There should be a stronger implementation of fisheries regulations, better surveillance, control and monitoring {M.C.S} with the legal entities/ co-operatives being given power to “help” the authorities in data gathering and to sustain the resource and contain poaching. The responsibility of running the legal entity should in the beginning be done by government appointed officials in order for the fishing community to obtain the necessary skills on a learning curve basis. In an effort to avoid any job losses in the present formal labor constituency and have better data control the “legal entity” shall be required to market their fish through a legal registered existing company, where they obtain a share of the profits above the catching payment of such catches for further use towards diversification of livelihoods and alternative employment. The greatest asset but a challenge is the task of ‘helping the communities to help itself, but the people should be supervised to taking the step to fulfilling both their material and human value needs. Out of this they can gain the human values of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and human dignity and this cannot be achieved by the action of individual rights but by a collective activity. The establishment of a joint co-operative/legal entity will do away with the present type of slave labor [casual] employed by the quota holders and would open the doors for private sector funding for machinery, credit, and government social aid {Basic unemployment, Accident fund,}
Many different projects are embraced by fishing communities around the world such as restaurants, owning of supply stores, tourism, whale watching, shell collecting boat trips, boat building, home fish cuisine shops etc. The diversification of livelihoods and alternative employment constitute important poverty-alleviation and food security strategies in coastal communities. This can involve approaches for reducing the dependence on only fish harvesting through complementary income generating activities.
We need the guidance and support of government, private sector and civil society to overcome the injustices that prevail in our society then and only then can the small-scale policy empower the poor to overcome the hobbled, poverty stricken and decimated life that they lead.

Andrew Johnston.
Artisanal Fishers Association.
6th August 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flood Donation Appeal by Labour Relief Campaign

Appeal issued on August 7, 2010

More than 12 million people suffering from floods in Pakistan

Please donate to Labour Relief Campaign to help people of Pakistan is facing worst ever floods of its history. Torrential rains have unleashed flash floods in different parts of the country since last three weeks. Water levies broke leaving the people exposed to flood water.

More than 12 million people have suffered due to these floods. More than 650,000 houses have collapsed, mainly in villages.

Thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed due to flood water. Houses, live-stock such as cattle’s and goats, household goods, clothes, shoes and other items have been destroyed. Residents of villages are currently without drinkable water, food, shelter and in need of clothes.

In particular, the situation is dire for children and women and they are in desperate need of food and clothing. Disease is spreading fast in the areas affected due to lack of drinkable water. In particular, flu, fever, diarrhea, cholera have been noted and are spreading.

The government’s response has made matters worse. They failed to act immediately, leaving tens of thousands of people unaided. They came after twenty four hours to the make-shift camps with paltry amount of food bags to distribute. The gap between the food being distributed and the large number of people desperate to eat led to fighting breaking out making matters even worse for these desperate people.

Despite the fact that there is very little coverage in the media, the fact remains that the situation in Baluchistan is just as bad as in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa and western and southern Punjab. As usual, also, they are not at the top of the government's priority list.

Situation is turning out to be worse with heavy rains started since last night in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province.

The Labour Education Foundation, Labour Party of Pakistan, National Trade Union Federation, Women Workers Help Line and Progressive Youth Front have set up Labour Flood Relief Camps in Lahore and so far have collected more than 300,000 rupees. Rs. 110,000 have already been sent to Baluchistan and more than 200,000 are on way to Southern Punjab to help flood victims.

We appeal our friends and organizations in Pakistan and abroad for donations of a monetary kind or in the form of drinking water, clothes (new), shoes, medicine.

For further information please contact: 

Khalid Mahmood
Labour Education Foundation
Ground Floor, 25-A Davis Road,
Lahore, Pakistan.
Tel: 0092 42 6303808, 0092 42 6315162, Fax: 0092 42 6271149
Mobile: 0092 321 9402322

Friday, July 30, 2010

Some 69 pct of Java, Bali mangrove forests damaged

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 12:45 WIB | Environment |
Jakarta (ANTARA News)

The People`s Coalition for Fishery Justice has appealed to the government on the need to preserve and improvemangrove forests.

The mangrove preservation is necessary to prevent them from disappearance from the face of the earth because the forests provide ground for fishes, shrimp, and mollusks for spawning and rearing.

According to data of the People`s Coalition for Fishery Justice (Kiara), damage of mangrove forests in the 1997-2008 period reached 68 percent.

Kiara program coordinator Abdul Halim said in Jakarta Wednesday damage of the mangrove ecosystem was caused by industrial anthropogenic waste in coastal areas.

Besides, the other causes include coastal land conversion for industrial purposes, commercial centers and luxury residential areas. The wastes caused damage of the mangrove ecosystem, and consequently making it difficult for fishermen to earn a living, he said.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Marine and Fishery Affairs set itself a target that by 2014, some 1,440 hectares of coastal areas would be preserved preventing them from environmental damage along national coastal areas. And of the 1,440 ha, some 101.7 percent could be preserved each year.

"The target needs to be coupled with the seriousness of the Minister of Marine and Fishery Affairs in carrying out the program," Abdul Halim said.

He added that seriousness in preserving the northern coastal areas of Java and Bali could become a reality if the program did not restore the ecological and social functions of the coastal ecosystem.

It is under these circumstances that it would be very important to involve the fishermen and coastal communities, he said.

For this reason that it is time for the Ministry of Marine and Fishery Affairs for a refreshment in restoring the mangrove forest ecosystem and raise the living standard of fishermen and the community in the coastal regions.(*)


Source: http://www.antarane news/1280295951/ some-69-pct- of-java-bali- mangrove- forests-damaged

M.Riza Damanik
Secretary General of KIARA (Fisheries Justice Coalition)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Maldives will file a case at the UN today for 148,000 square kilometers off the north and 20,000 square kilometers off the west.

(Daily Mirror online 28/07/2010)

The Sri Lankan government is investigating to see if the request put forward by the Maldives to the UN seeking an expansion of its continental shelf will overlap the sea area demarcated by Sri Lanka in a similar request to the world body.

Officials from the Legal Division of the Foreign Ministry told Daily Mirror online that a technical team has been appointed by the Sri Lankan government to study the area to verify if both demarcated areas overlap each other and if found to be true will resort to dialogue with the Maldivian government.

A report on the findings is also expected to be handed over to the Foreign Ministry Secretary soon.

The Maldives will demand 168,000 square kilometers off the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country as its extended continental shelf, its Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed said.

Maldives will file a case at the UN today for 148,000 square kilometers off the north and 20,000 square kilometers off the west.

“By the grace of God, our 45th Independence Day is a day that we will amend some issues and expand the Maldives area, especially that we would officially file a case at UN to get the extended continental shelf that we should get,” the Minister said.

The extended continental shelf claimed by Maldives contradicts with the portion claimed by neighboring Sri Lanka last year. Dr Shaheed, however, expressed hope that the disputes “over a small area” would be resolved through dialogue.

“I believe that we will find a solution through negotiations soon, as Maldives and Sri Lanka have always maintained close relations,” he said.

Sri Lanka formally presented its claim for sovereignty over an extended continental shelf around the island under international law to the UN last year.

The claim, if successful, would give Sri Lanka control over potential hydrocarbon and mineral deposits on the seabed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Por Jorge Varela Márquez (Junio 2010)
La noticia de que el camarón de Centroamérica (CA) ya no pagará el arancel de introducción a la
Unión Europea ha llenado de regocijo a los productores de este crustáceo en CA, y a preocupado
a los defensores de los ecosistemas marino costeros .
Lo anterior ocurre a pesar de que recientemente, Organizaciones de Bases Comunitarias
agrupadas en la REDMANGLAR de Latinoamérica y la “Red de Asia en contra del Camarón
Cultivado, asociados con ONG’s de la Unión Europea (UE) y Estados Unidos, han realizado una
gira por tres países de Europa (Abril 28-Mayo 4, 2010), buscando, entre otros objetivos, definir
una estrategia para que la (UE) reduzca el consumo de camarón cultivado en los países de la zona
tropical y parte de la subtropical del Planeta, esperando así disminuir los impactos ambientales,
sociales y económicos que produce este tipo de acuacultura contra la Biodiversidad, las
comunidades locales y el ambiente en general.
La delegación de la REDMANGLAR , además ha aprovechado para informar que en los primeros
meses del 2010, durante la época seca, los camaroneros se han ampliado impunemente sobre
Áreas Protegidas y Sitio Ramsar # 1000, en Honduras, destruyendo con la complicidad del
gobierno centenares de acres de humedales costeros.
Una de las delegaciones presentes en la gira, ha solicitado al “Partido Verde” francés, gestionar
ante la UE, el aumento al arancel de las importaciones del camarón procedente del Sur, para
subir el precio del producto al consumidor europeo, de tal modo que éste se aproxime a pagar el
costo real del camarón, como un instrumento para disminuir su consumo.
La industria camaronera hondureña por su parte, anuncia al final de una reunión entre el nuevo
gobernante Pepe Lobo, y la UE, que el camarón de Honduras entrará a Europa sin pagar arancel.
(España, 19 de Mayo),
Esto significa: Que los europeos continúan sin pagar el verdadero precio del camarón y pueden
incrementar su consumo al comprar un producto mucho más barato. Las empresas camaroneras
reciben este aliciente como un estímulo; aumentarán sus ingresos y continuarán expandiéndose
impunemente como hasta ahora, sobre los humedales costeros, no sólo de Honduras sino de toda
Centroamérica, pues venderán su producto como si fuera producido en una Europa, donde parece
no importar los perjuicios que se causa en el clima mundial, en la biodiversidad y en la economía
de los paupérrimos pueblos del sur.
Los resultados pueden ser distintos si la UE condiciona tal estimulo al castigo a la impunidad de
los delitos ambientales y sociales; al respeto a las Leyes nacionales, Convenios internacionales,
Áreas Protegidas; a la Moratoria real de la expansión camaronera sobre humedales; al
cumplimiento de los códigos de conducta de la industria…etc., pero se cree que esas condiciones
quedan para la Declaratoria de poéticas Resoluciones en las Convenciones internacionales o para
alentar el negocio de las Certificaciones o “sellos verdes” al camarón. (traducido al Francés por:…)