World news



I national assembly of FIUPAP

The First National Assembly of the Federation for the Integration and Unification of the Artisanal Fishermen of Peru (FIUPAP) took place in Lima, Pew. There, fishermen reported on the problems that concern their grassroots members.

Attention was also given to problems affecting artisanal fishermen around the world, especially in developing countries. Most of the problems afflicting us come from trawlers from other countries flying the Peruvian flag. They fail to respect the five-mile limit, catch indiscriminately, kill young species and drive away other species normally found in those areas. Other Problems dealt with concerned seals (otaria flavescens) that destroy our instruments of work. They are protected by the society for the protection of animals as an endangered species, without understanding that the artisanal fisherman goes hungry while these animals deprive him of his daily sustenance.

The problem of social security for the artisanal fisherman was also examined. Most are not insured, despite the Social Security and Benefit Fund for Fishermen (CBSSP). This agency only covers those who work in the industrial fleet.

The Artisanal Fishermen of Peru will fight for access to social security systems and the free exercise of their trade union and employment rights.

If was also agreed to set up a standing committee with representatives from the three zones of FIUPAP, in order to avoid repeating past errors.



National conference and international seminar

Artisanal fishermen in Senegal have been very active since 1987 in organizing at the local and national level. In 1984 they participated in the International Conference of Fishworkers in Rome, presided over by Dao Gaye. In 1987 they organized a national seminar in which they planned to found the National Collective of Senegalese Fishermen (NCSF) and later a support body, CREDETIP, headed by Aliou Sall, who had done studies on the economics of fishing and the job security of fishermen in areas where they enter into conflict with industrial trawlers.

Both the Government and non-governmental organizations have developed numerous projects for fishermen, but without the participation of their grassroots organizations. The Canadian Government has invested heavily in freezer facilities, which are not used in practice because those who control distribution block any new form of marketing. Also, projects financed by Japan and France have not obtained their expected results, since the fishermen themselves have not reached an adequate level of coordination among themselves.

The National Collective reached adulthood in November 1991 when it organized the National Conference of Senegalese Fishermen, held at the International Fairgrounds in Dakar, with more than 600 representatives of grassroots communities presenting reports and making recommendations. They came from the areas of Hann, Saint-Louis, Soumbedioune-Gulvinex, Fass- Boye, Mbour, Bargny and Toubab-Dialao-Niagal. The conference was opened by the Minister of Maritime Affairs. Delegates were sent by Guinea-Bissau, Togo, France, Canada and other countries. Non-governmental organizations provided support. With this conference the Government, headed by the President, and private agencies came to recognize the NCSF as an organization with enormous tasks to accomplish in favour of its members.

One of these tasks will be to participate in the fisheries agreements between Senegal and the European Community. Between 1981 and 1990, four such agreements have been made, with the EC contributing some US$ 25 million in counterpart funds. For the first time, artisanal fishermen will obtain direct benefits from these negotiations, since up till now, only Government officials and entrepreneurs benefited. On the other hand, boats from European fleets caused a good deal of damage to the nets and endangered fishermen at sea.

Fishermen will be able to take more advantage of the exclusive zone of six miles from the shoreline, which was normally not respected, and establish a better local support organization to improve the living conditions of their families and communities.

An international seminar on fisheries agreements was organized by CREDETIP and the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, One participant was the president of the committee representing the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) to the EC, Mr. Adigo of Toga, headquartered in Brussels. The seminar was directed by Hector Luis Morales of Chile, Coordinator of the International Collective, and by Pierre Gillet, James Smith, Alain le Sann and Michael Belliveau, also of the ICSF.

The main conclusions dealt with the role of fishermen’s organizations in the negotiations with the European Economic Community in protecting maritime resources against the depredatory practices of fleets from developed countries. To great challenge to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America is to protect their fishery resources, since strong demand from northern hemisphere countries drives up prices and provokes depreciatory practices with fatal consequences for countries in the south. Fisheries agreements are the mechanisms for carrying out negotiations; fishermen’s organizations should participate in them.



“Rosa dos Ventos’

The Association of Fishermen’s Wives of Rias Bajas “Rosa dos Ventos was registered and officially legalized 17 January 1991. Its roots go back to 1984, the year the Apostolate of the Sea promoted the creation of small groups. They began in Bahifla (Bayona). Early on they fought for shell fishing grounds in La Guardia and Vigo. Other groups sprung up on their own in 1988 to support their husbands in facing fishing-related problems in Bueu, Cangas, Mann and Moafla, during the conflicts created for fishermen in the Canary Islands- Sahara fishing grounds during negotiations for a collective agreement.

These reflection and action groups established relations between one another through the Apostolate of the Sea, which supports the struggle of fishermen’s wives and accompanies them in their actions to defend the respect and personal dignity of fishworkers and their families, and in the just demand for their job, family and social rights. The strength and solidarity of this movement gave rise to the Commission of Wives of Galician Fishermen.

The Commission began its activities in April 1990 when it criticized the Cindadana Platform, which was drawn up when the Namibian fishing grounds were closed. The protest consisted of going to the place where the signing took place, with signs denouncing the trade unions that were signing. The protesters also threw coins at all those present who supported the platform, to express the significance of the power of money. This protest by the women denounced the lack of protection for fishermen on the part of the administration and trade union. The protest was reported in the local and regional press. The First Convocation on Maritime Safety and Rescue took place that same month. In July 1990, the Commission supported the strike of the crew of the refrigerator ship “Nuevo Alcocero, of the firm Puerta Prado, S.A, who were demanding their rights to a percentage of the catch and a just contract. After a year of hard work, the women consolidated and organized an association which the wives of the fishermen of Rias Bajas call “Rosa dos Ventos.

“Rosa dos Ventos is not linked to any political party, trade union or government agency. Its main objectives are, with unity and solidarity, to open paths to justice and dignity in the world of the sea; support fishworkers in obtaining more training and information about labour and social laws affecting the fisheries sector; raise public consciousness through mass media about the marginal situation in which fishermen and their families live; organize and participate in actions to demand respect for the rights of fishermen when they are violated; promote meetings with fishermen’s wives in other ports, encouraging the creation of local groups or associations; develop International relations through the review “BOGA coordinating experiences, actions and struggle to strengthen solidarity for the defence of the fisheries sector, and developing welfare, social and cultural activities and services for its members and other components of the maritime family.

Safety and rescue capacity are priorities in the demands of the association “Rosa dos ventos. During the first convocation last year, the association presented a document expressing facts, denouncements and claims about safety, which were seconded by all the participants, representatives of the administration, trade unions and the grassroots of the maritime sector. The wives of the fishermen later Collected 15000 signatures in support of the document in the different areas of the coast where they are active. After a year of following up the document with a series of studies, inter views and actions before the administration, there is much more awareness of these issues and new means of rescue are available to the fisheries sector of Gal-Ida. Safety, to the contrary, is a poor as ever, due to the indifference of the marine commands and the health and employment inspectors. On 18 May 1991, in a second convocation, a new document was presented that examined and evaluated the results of one year of effort. The director general of the merchant marine accepted the challenge of “Rosa dos ventos, which is now demanding that the administration assume its responsibility. The association continues to see to it that the merchant marine keeps its promises. It is also seeking to dialogue about safety with other agencies concerned with the problem. Most crews work under unacceptable safety conditions and with inadequate medical attention. The number of on-the-job accidents and deaths corroborate the claim that fishermen are risking their lives.

“Rosa dos Ventos seeks to better the living and working conditions of the seamen, and does not hesitate to criticize harshly the tyrannical position of the shipowners who look at fishermen only as machines for productivity and high yields.

The linkages and relations of “Rosa dos Ventos with other associations and groups of fishermen’s wives have increased since 1986. Three international meetings have been held with fishermen’s wives from Pasajes (the Basque country) and the French ports on the Atlantic coast: in 1987 in the port of La Rochelle (France), which dealt with the problematic of the fisherrnan’s family life; in 1989 in PantOn and La Guardia (Galicia), discussing international solidarity of fishermen’s wives, and the last one in 1990.

Aware that the Europe being constructed is one of business interests and not one of cities, international relations are very important for “Rosa dos Ventos, since they mean information, support and rich exchanges with countries which have common maritime interests. Organizations like the Apostolate of the Sea, the Association of Fishermen’s Wives of La Rochelle, the Eudine Group (France), Forpescas (Portugal), the Association of Artisanal Fishermen “A. Mar of Malaga (Spain), the Commission of Fishermen’s Wives of the Basque Country all relate to and collaborate with “Rosa dos Ventos. The support of CCFD and ICSF are highly valued.

“Rosa dos Ventos, invited by these groups, has attended important conventions and international meetings in Thailand and Paris. These meetings have meant for the association a solidarity without borders and exchanges of experiences. The association also attended the Congress of Ministers in La Toja, Spain during the summer of last year, where it established contact with representatives to the European Parliament interested in the problems of the sector and the presence of women in Europe.

At present, “Rosa dos Ventos is working on a threeyear project to study in depth and improve critical aspects of maritime fishing, such as negotiating collective agreements, special tax, schemes, early retirement, radiophone rates, alternative employment, biological t right to vote, maritime safety and rescues, etc.

In the framework of this project. “Rosa dos Ventos travelled at the beginning of the year to Brussels to observe the discussion of fisheries and analyse how the Community Fisheries Policy is being implemented. It saw that the EEC is incapable at this time of implementing an authentic fisheries social policy, due to the primacy of the political, commercial and economic interests of large firms.

The Association of Fishermen’s Wives of Rias Bajas of Galicia is resolved to travel the long and difficult road leading to a more just and humane maritime world for fishermen and their families.



V Conference of MONAPE

Brazil’s fishermen met in Olinda-Recife in October 1991, with 34 representatives of organizations from 12 states of the Federation, and Miguel Leiva, the secretary-general of CONAPACH, Hector Luis Morales, Coordinator of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, university professors from Sao Paulo and Recife, especially Antonio Carlos Diegues, and several members from the Pastoral Office for Fishermen, who have provided educational and organizational support from the beginning to Brazil’s fishermen.

During the conference the future of fishermen’s organizations was discussed. Traditionally, the organizational form was the “colony, an institution founded at the beginning of the century under the auspices of the Brazilian Navy. However, the Constitution of 1987 established freedom of association. In many regions, trade unions have joined together with a view to becoming more autonomous from the state and the Navy and gradually developing new forms of professional organization and production.

The conference decided to found an organization for fishermen, the Centre for the Support of the Artisanal Fishermen of Brazil (CAPAB). The centre was legally registered 24 February 1992 in San Lids Maranhao. The goals of the centre are to support the organizational efforts of Brazil’s fishermen; provide technical and legal support to fishermen’s organizations: organize and disseminate information, technical and scientific material related to fisheries; support fishermen in their demands for a better quality of life; enter into cooperative agreements with similar organizations at the national and international level, and defend through judicial and extra-judicial means the natural resources that are essential for fisheries.

MONAPE is a movement that seeks to achieve this renovation by organizing a national convention for 1994 to consolidate a dynamic organisation capable of maintaining relations with the Government and its institutions, promoting a new fisheries law, and carry out educational and economic training for its leaders. A regional organisation was established to facilitate coordination among fishermen, taking into account the difficult geographical conditions of one of the largest countries in the world.

The meeting was held in the Fishermen’s Centre of the Pastoral Office for fishermen in Olinda-Per-nambuco. The spirit of solidarity and work was impressive. A decision was taken to publish a review entitled “Pescando e Lutando’ (Fishing and Struggling). It was also decided to support the initiative of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers to present the Charter of Basic Rights of the Artisanal Fishermen of World to the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development. The text of this charter is published in this review in its original language. An emotional ceremony took place to honor the memory of Father Alfredo Schnuetgen, who died tragically in 1990. He was the person most responsible for promoting pastoral action among fishermen in Brazil. Todd Robinson Brem was also remembered. He was a sociologist and educator born in California, USA in 1943. He met a tragic death on 10 January 1988 in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, trying to save some people who were drowning. Father Alfredo and Todd were active participants in the International Conference of Fishermen and Support Organizations, in Rome, 1984. We render homage to their memory and their works.