Dear Editor:

Thank you for sending me a copy of your magazine SAMUDRA. I enjoyed your editorial very much. I was very pleased to note that Chile has passed a law which reserves a 5 mile zone for artisan fishing. That is an important advance.

I was also pleased to note that the artisan fishworkers of Lamon Bay, of the Philippines, successful in obliging their Municipality to that Bay to industrial fishing.

Already in July, 1984, in Rime, during the international conference of artisan fishworkers, I had suggested the creation of a 20 mile reserve zone for traditional artisan fishworkers. I was supported by the fishworkers but the so-called “intellectuals” rejected my proposition of 20 miles, which was already a compromise given that 180 miles would still be left to the industrial ships, together with the open seas beyond the 200 mile limit. This last problem is being considered by the FAO today, although unfortunately, not the 20 mile zone!

Why 20 miles? I requested the Brussels Commission to not authorize European Community ships to operate within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the countries of the South. The following suggestion was made: with regard to small costal, or traditional, fishing, it would be better to reserve that zone to which those fishworkers have access. Given that the craft of artisan fishworkers can reach 20 or 21 miles in three hours, that suggestion seemed wise to me. Since then, I have proposed it consistently, to FAO, in Brussels, to the European Parliament, to the Government in Paris, etc.

On reading the document you sent me, titled “How to feed the Third World”, I see that the Brussels Commission could easily include this clause in its treaties with developing countries. The Governments of the South, which would have the right to decide with respect to that zone, will not be decisive for fear of losing the monies to be gained through the treaties already established.

And the small artisan fishworkers, who are not consulted when those treaties are signed, have only one means to exert pressure, violence, to defend their interests and those of costal populations.

Therefore, I would appreciate seeing my suggestion with respect to a 20 mile costal reserve as EEZ, printed in capital letters in SAMUDRA, without necessarily mentioning my name.


H.C. – Honorary Senator