News, events, briefings and more…
Coastal zone wars
The fishing community in the south Indian State of Kerala is gearing up for an agitation against a proposed law to be introduced by the Union Government on coastal management. The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) has announced a nationwide agitation, alleging that the law will threaten the marine environment and affect the livelihood security of thousands of fishermen.
The Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation is spearheading the protest movement in the State. Federation leaders say that the proposed law favours development over conservation. State president of the federation T. Peter says the absence of public consultation on the law is undemocratic and raises serious questions about the intention of the Government on a matter with serious long-term implications for the fishing communities. He says it will also deprive the communities of their legitimate rights to livelihood.
The federation has already launched a campaign to send online petitions to national leaders highlighting the flaws in the proposed law. It will organize a State-level convention in July and a campaign to send letters to the Prime Minister, the United Progressive Alliance Chairperson and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. Fishermen throughout the State will participate in a protest march to district headquarters on Quit India Day. According to NFF leaders, the draft Coastal Management Zone law, due to be announced soon, will further marginalize the fishing communities and place them at the mercy of big business. Campaign committee convenor Harekrishna Debhnath says it will add to the impact created by sand mining, tourism, fish farming and other types of aquaculture, land reclamation, hydrocarbon exploration and port development on India’s coast. Fishworkers’ organizations say that the Ministry is planning amendments to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991, allowing commercial activities within 500 m of the coastline. They claim that the new notification is designed to permit special economic zones and industrial and tourism activities in urban areas close to the coast.
The Swaminathan committee recommends the expansion of the coastal zone to include territorial waters the area from the shore to 12 nautical miles. This expansion into territorial waters has major implications for livelihoods of fishing communities. There is no explicit mention that this area should be managed with full participation of fishing communities, and that their rights to fish in this area should be protected and promoted. It needs to be explicitly stated that no part of this area shall be diverted for any other purpose, Peter says.
For more, see http://www.hindu.com/2007/06/20 /stories/2007062071160400.htm
The only independent NGO in South Africa working with small-scale and traditional fishing and coastal communities in the west and south coasts of the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal.
Work includes extensive fieldwork, action research, advocacy and lobbying initiatives, information gathering and dissemination, training and capacity building as well as networking with regional and international organizations working with small-scale fishing communities.
Supports community-based and people-driven organizations and networks of coastal communities, with the organizational capacity to undertake advocacy interventions in order to secure traditional fishing communities and coastal dwellers’ rights to marine resources and sustainable livelihood alternatives.
Here lies the concept, MSY
It advocated yields too high,
And didn’t spell out how to slice the pie.
We bury it with the best of wishes
Especially on behalf of fishes.
We don’t know yet what will take its place,
But hope it’s as good for the
P.A. Larkin, Institute of Animal Resource Ecology, University of British Columbia, Canada, 1977
In spite of the high level of vulnerability, the small-scale fisheries sector also shows notable dynamism and coping capacity.
Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO
Sushi made with deer meat, anyone? How about a slice of raw horse on hat rice?
These are some of the most extreme alternatives being considered by Japanese chefs as shortages of tuna threaten to remove it from Japan’s sushi menussomething as unthinkable in Japan as baseball without hot dogs or Texas without barbecue.
In this seafood-crazed country, tuna is king. From maguro to otoro, the Japanese seem to have almost as many words for tuna and its edible parts as the French have names for cheese. So when global fishing bodies recently began lowering the limits on catches in the world’s rapidly depleting tuna fisheries, Japan fell into a national panic.
Nightly news programmes ran in-depth reports of how higher prices were driving top-grade tuna off supermarket shelves and the revolving conveyer belts at sushi chain stores.
At nicer restaurants, sushi chefs began experimenting with substitutes, from cheaper varieties of fish to terrestrial alternatives and even, heaven forbid, American sushi variations like avocado rolls.
It’s like America running out of steak, said Tadashi Yamagata, vice chairman of Japan’s national union of sushi chefs. Sushi without tuna just would not be sushi.
The problem is the growing appetite for sushi and sashimi outside Japan, not only in the United States but also in countries with new wealth, like Russia, South Korea and China. And the problem will not go away. Fishing experts say that the shortages and rising prices will only become more severe as the population of bluefin tunathe big, slow-maturing type most favoured in sushifails to keep up with worldwide demand.
Last year, dozens of nations responded by agreeing to reduce annual tuna catches in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans by 20 per cent in an effort to stabilize populations. But the decision only seemed to crystallize growing fears in Japan about tuna shortages, helping to push up prices of the three species of bluefinnorthern, Pacific and southernthat are considered the best tuna to eat raw.
Since the start of last year, the average price of imported frozen northern and Pacific bluefin has risen more than a third, to US$13 a pound, according to Japan’s Fisheries Agency. Wholesalers say that competition from foreign fishing fleets and buyers has made the top-quality tuna increasingly hard to come by here.
Martin Fackler, The New York Times, 25 June 2007
Share of Fishers in Total Population
Fishers and fish
Millions of people in the Asian region depend on fisheries for a living, and the sector is a major source of food security, employment, income and foreign exchange. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), of the 47.6 mn fishers worldwide engaged in fishing and fish farming as a full-time, or, more frequently, part-time, occupation, as many as 42.3 mn, or 89 per cent, are in Asia. China has the maximum number of fishers and fish farmers, followed by India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines. The majority of fishers and fish farmers are small-scale, artisanal fishers, eking out a living from coastal and inland fishery resources.
These figures are likely to be underestimates. An FAO study in Southeast Asia, for example, suggested that the figure reported to the organization for the number of inland capture fishers worldwide (4.5 mn, full-time, part-time or occasional) is easily exceeded by those fishing in inland waters in just eight countries covered by the study, namely, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Further, these figure do not include those involved in other fisheries-related activities, such as marketing, processing, net-making, supplying ice, boatbuilding, and so on. Importantly, women play an important role in several of these activities. Assuming a ratio of about 1: 3that is, for every person who fishes, there are three others on shore engaged in fisheries-related activitiesa conservative estimate would place the total number of people involved in fisheries-related activities in Asia at about 130 mn. The total number of people dependent on the sector in Asia is, no doubt, much higher.
Significantly, 90 per cent of the catch from small-scale fisheries worldwide caters to human consumption. According to the Asian Development Bank, artisanal, small-scale fisheries in Asia are estimated to contribute to at least 50 per cent of total fisheries production, providing extensive rural employment.
Fish is an important source of food security in the region. For more than 1.6 bn of the 3.5 bn people in the region, fish provides more than 20 per cent of the animal protein consumed. This figure rises to more than 50 per cent in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Malay Fishermen: Their Peasant Economy. Raymond Firth. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. London. 1946. ISBN 0 7100 3466 0
This book is a study of some Far Eastern peasant problems, based mainly on field research.The bulk of the book has been left as a description of how a Malay fishing economy ordinarily functions.
It will give some idea of the adaptative nature of these peasant economic systems, of the value of their traditional forms of co-operation, and of the claims of such types of society to survival in the face of pressure from forces which threaten to disrupt them while offering no alternative forms of communal existence.
…this is still the only detailed analysis of production, marketing and distribution in a Malay fishing community, related to community structure and values..
from the prefaces to the first and second editions
The Fate of the North Atlantic Fisherman.
William W. Warner. Penguin Group USA. 1984.
ISBN 0 1400 6967 4
Chronicles the history of the North Atlantic Fishing Fleet since World War II, narrates the day-to-day occupations of shipboard life, and examines the fleet’s current operations and future prospects.
Inshore Ireland, a bimonthly incorporating Aquaculture Ireland, features news from the coast and inland waterways of Ireland. Published from Dublin by the Agricultural Trust, publishers of the Irish Farmers Journal and the Irish Field, it is compiled by journalists Gillian Mills (email@example.com), the Editor, and Gery Flynn (firstname.lastname@example.org), who looks after features.
Inshore Ireland, which has a circulation of 36,000 copies and a readership of 145,000, reports on aquaculture, island tourism, inshore fisheries, water management, policy and regulation, engineering and technology, seafood marketing and retail, and research and development.
IAMSLIC: Changes on the Horizon
The 33rd Annual International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centres (IAMSLIC)
Conference will be a joint meeting with the Southeastern Association of IAMSLIC Libraries and will be hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory during 7-11 October 2007. The Conference includes panel discussions, presentations, hands-on workshops and a field trip. For more, visit http://www.iamslic.org/index.php?section=150.
Sizing Up: Property Rights and Fisheries Management: A Collection of Articles from SAMUDRA Report. ICSF. 2007. pp 112 . ISBN 81-902957-6-4
Rights-based management in fisheries, as this dossier shows, can take several forms, including licensing, and individual and community fishing quotas.
How property-rights regimes address the issue of allocation of ownership will determine their effectiveness in equitably spreading welfare throughout the fishing/coastal community. Only by recognizing fishing rights that are socially sensitive and address the issues of labour, gender and human rights, can fishing communities, especially small-scale, traditional ones, be assured of social justice in the face of moves towards ecological and resource sustainability.
This collection of articles from SAMUDRA Report is available for free download from http://www.icsf.net.
The Fisheries Information Centre
A unit of the South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS), this centre publishes market intelligence, fish species prices, and weather scan reports for the south Indian States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The aim is to equip fishermen’s organizations to take business decisions on marketing fish.
Co-management, intended as a collaborative and participatory arrangement between governments and resource users to share the responsibility for resource management, is increasingly being put forward as a framework for the management of fisheries resources, partly also due to the perceived failure, or inability, of centralized fisheries management regimes.
To the extent that co-management recognizes the importance of the participation of resource users at all stages of resource management, it is important. However, experience from various parts of the world indicates that often the government commitment to participation of actual users remains on paper.
Co-management regimes can be considered in a context of property rights, and they can also be considered in fisheries with no property rights. While the co-management framework may be easier where property rights exist, it may be more daunting in the absence of such rights. Co-manage- ment arrangements that operate in situations where community property rights are established and recognized, are likely to be more effective, as they enable communities to control access, to sanction, and to exclude others. However, this may be possible in only a handful of fisheries worldwide. Governance structures in fisheries are still poor in most parts of the world. The advantage of co-management is that it enables governments and fishery gear groups to adopt and develop meaningful fisheries management measures that can minimize costs and that can also expect realization of management goals in a reasonable time frame. At least, it is one way to develop appropriate fisheries management measures that can engender ownership among all user groups even in the absence of property rights.
Excerpts from the Comment in SAMUDRA Report No.42, November 2005