Waiting for Chandrika

It is now more than 250 days since the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 carrying 227 passengers from 14 countries and 12 crew members went missingreportedlyon its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014. It is also more than 45 days since the search for the missing aircraft has resumed in the Indian Ocean where the missing plane is believed to have ended its flight.

The passengers on board this aircraft included Chandrika Sharma, Executive Secretary, ICSF and publisher of SAMUDRA Report. She was on her way to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to attend the 32nd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific. Her family and friends as well as her colleagues have been anxiously waiting all this while for some tangible news on what, in fact, had happened to this plane and to all those on board. So far the waitlong and harrowinghas been in vain. It is painfully distressing that there is still no clue, whatsoever, of what really happened to the plane and those on board.

We are disappointed that Malaysiathe State of registry of MH370is still not in a position to shed light on what had befallen this aircraft, its passengers or crew. This is worrying. We appeal for renewed vigour to enhance the search operation not only from Malaysia, Australia and Chinathe current members of the Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC)but also from the other 11 affected States that had their citizens on board the aircraft. Such a move would be consistent with Paragraph 5.27, Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (CICA) that deals with the rights of States that have a special interest in an accident by virtue of fatalities or serious injuries of its citizens.

In addition to the JACC member States, these States include the United States, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, New Zealand, Indonesia and India. We remain committed as ever to get hold of factual information about the disappearance of MH370 and to have a dignified closure to this unfortunate incident.



Call for more ocean protection

A once-in-a-decade global forum on parks closed in Sydney on November 19, 2014 calling for an urgent increase in ocean protection and stressing the economic benefits of natural sanctuaries.

The World Parks Congress, with representatives from 160 nations, outlined a pathway for achieving a global target to protect at least 17 percent of land and 10 percent of oceans by 2020.

The forum, organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), set out a broad agenda ranging from halting rainforest loss to planting 1.3 billion trees.

“We will scale up protection in landscapes, wetlands and seascapes to represent all sites essential for the conservation of nature, especially in the oceans, it said in its “Promise of Sydney.

The world is so far on track to meet the 2020 targets, but the document notes that threats to nature are now at the highest level in human history due to human consumption, population growth, and industrial activity.

The week-long meeting followed an Australian-led scientific review which found governments needed to do more to protect national parks or risk losing their economic, environmental and social benefits.

A key focus of the forum was on the economic benefits of conserving the world’s wildernesses and their contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“Protected areas are by far the best investment the world can make to address some of today’s biggest development challenges, said IUCN director general Julia Marton-Lefevre.

Ocean sanctuaries were emphasised, as threats to marine life have become more obvious, said Pew Charitable Trust’s oceans director Michelle Grady.

“Destructive industrial fishing, rising ocean temperatures and pollution represent a ‘perfect storm’ threatening the future of the very thing that sustains life on this planet, our oceans, she said.

The meeting also highlighted the need to ensure that protected areas were established in the right spots to prevent further biodiversity loss.

The IUCN updated its “red list of threatened species at the congress, naming the Pacific bluefin tuna, a fish used in sushi and sashimi dishes, as at risk of extinction as the global food market places “unsustainable pressure on the species and others.

The Chinese pufferfish, American eel, Chinese cobra and Australian black grass-dart butterfly also made the list while the world’s largest-known earwig was declared extinct due to habitat destruction.

Source: Phys.Org



Environmental Management and Economic Development Organization

The Environmental Management and Economic Development Organization (EMEDO), based in Mwanza, Tanzania, has been operating since 2005 among the rural fishing communities of the Lake Victoria region to spread awareness of the environmental, social and economic challenges they face, including diminishing natural resources and poor livelihoods.

These challenges have resulted in decreased incomes, unemployment, and food and nutritional insecurity in the fishing communities. There was a clear need to enhance the capacities of the rural fishing communities in the Lake Victoria region to respond to these challenges and by doing so help fight poverty through sustainable use of the available natural resources. This was the main reason for establishing EMEDO.

In November 2006 EMEDO acquired official registration to operate in mainland Tanzania. The organization focuses most of its work in the Ukerewe district, the largest island in Lake Victoria. EMEDO aims to empower fishing communities to effectively participate in, and influence, decision-making processes in matters pertaining to their lives and livelihoods. EMEDO also aims to strengthen fishing communities’ capacities in fighting poverty through training, research, policy analysis, lobbying and advocacy.

EMEDO believes that women’s rights are human rights, and women who stand up for equal access to resources and opportunities for development, and insist on equal participation in decision-making processes that affect their lives, are key to the well-being of society at large and of future generations. On this basis, EMEDO facilitates the organization of women’s groups, and training them on different regulatory frameworks to enable them to make informed decisions as they participate in development activities in their localities.



Fish and Human Nutrition

In recent years, with dramatic rises and increased volatility in food prices, there is a risk that the diets of the poor will become even less diverse and more dependent on starchy staples. There is, therefore, a renewed emphasis on the production, access, distribution and utilization of common, micronutrient-rich foods.

Fish, especially nutrient-rich small fish, from the wild and from aquaculture, can play a vital role in improving human nutrition, but this will require changes to government policies, investment in infrastructure and encouragement of research. Means must be found to reduce post-harvest losses in fisheries, better utilize processing waste and to make use of the large quantities of small pelagic fish that are available for direct human consumption.

International organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), bilateral agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through Feed the Future and the Department for International Development (DFID), CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) through the CGIAR Research Programs, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector have all initiated programmes and interventions that provide a platform for fish to contribute to human nutrition. These should be further strengthened and co-ordinated.

In recent years, capture-fishery production has been flat, at around 90 mn tonnes per year, while aquaculture has continued to show sustained growthcurrently around 6.5 per cent a yearfaster than all other food sectors. In 2011, it amounted to 62.7 mn tonnes. Some gains in capture fisheries might be possible by adopting better management through an ecosystem approach, but significant increases are unlikely.

However, it has been estimated that if all inputs were available, aquaculture could provide 16 – 47 mn additional tonnes of fish by 2030. It is interesting to note that in four out of the five top aquaculture producers, the output from aquaculture exceeds that from capture fisheries. Only in Indonesia, a vast archipelago, is capture more than aquaculture.

A total of 156 mn tonnes of fish was produced from all sources in 2011, of which 132 mn tonnes were available for direct human consumption. Fish is the most important animal-source food in the diets of more than one billion people. If equally distributed over the world’s population, the annual per capita availability would be 18.9 kg (a strong increase from the 9.9 kg available in the 1960s).

However, 2009 data shows consumption varies widely between regions: from 9.9 kg per capita in Latin America/Caribbean to 25.1 kg in Oceania. In more detail, the strongest difference is between industrialized countries, 27.4 kg, and low-income food-deficient developing countries (LIFDCs), 10.3 kg, although this latter figure has more than doubled since 1961.

Also, within countries there is considerable variation, in most cases with the rich consuming significantly more. Whether a community eats fish is strongly ingrained in its traditional food habits. It is difficult to make fish consumers out of those with no diet-linked cultural association.

The pursuit of fisheries for food has obvious nutritional benefits but also, with at least 45 mn people employed worldwide, the majority of them in developing countries (including a large number of women employed mostly in processing activities), the income from fisheries contributes significantly to sustainable rural livelihoods and, through them, to improved nutrition.

Fishery resources are an important source of both macro- and micro-nutrients for humans. Globally, fish accounts for about 17 per cent of animal protein intake.

This share, however, exceeds 50 per cent in many countries. Despite the low overall African per capita consumption noted above, in West African coastal countries, the proportion of dietary protein that comes from fish is very high: 72 per cent in Sierra Leone, 55 per cent in Ghana and Gambia, and 43 per cent in Senegal.

Also, in Asia and some small island states the contribution is high: 70 per cent in the Maldives, 60 per cent in Cambodia, 57 per cent in Bangladesh, 54 per cent in Indonesia and 55 per cent in Sri Lanka. Official data on fish consumption in developing countries may also be underestimated as these data fail to capture fish bought in small rural markets, as well as fish caught for consumption by household members or produced in home farms.

In addition, fish consumption is affected by location, seasonality, time and household socioeconomic status.

Source: Maximizing the contribution of fish to human nutrition by Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, David James, Jogeir Toppe, Rohana Subasinghe and Iddya Karunasagar

TABLE : Total and per capita fish supply by region (2011)

REGION Total food fish supply (mn tonnes) Per capita food fish supply (kg/year)






World, excluding China






North America



Latin America/Caribbean









Industrialized countries*



Low-income food-deficient countries*



*Data for 2009



Fisheries managers do not know and probably never will know enough about fish and their ecosystems to construct enough facts to support agreement and co-operation.




ICSF’s Documentation Centre ( has a range of information resources that are regularly updated. A selection:


Enhancing Capacities of Fishing Communities: Sub-regional Dialogue on Labour, Migration and Fisheries Management

This report on the “Sub-regional Dialogue on Labour, Migration and Fisheries Management, held at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, from 11 to 13 December 2013, highlights the issue of migrant labour on board fishing vessels and the problems migrant workers face in their workaday lives.

Marine Protected Areas and Small-scale Fisheries in South Africa: Promoting Governance, Participation, Equity and Benefit Sharing

This monograph studies the progress achieved by conservation partners in South Africa on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Programme Element Two components of governance, participation, equity and benefit sharing, from the perspective of small-scale fishing communities.

Traditional Knowledge of the Gulf of Mannar, India: A Participatory Study of the Traditional Knowledge of Fishing Communities in the Gulf of Mannar, India

This is the first in a series of case studies by ICSF to document the traditional knowledge of fishing communities dependent on marine and coastal resources in protected and conserved areas in different parts of the world. The study, done with the support of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project, documents the traditional knowledge of fishing communities in the Gulf of Mannar in the state of Tamil Nadu.


Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands, directed by Sonia Filinto, explores the life of the fishing community in Calangute, a popular tourist village in Goa, India. The film aims to give voice to community members and how they perceive themselves, their trade and the constantly changing life around them.

Cry Water! Struggles for water in Ntlalavini

A 22-min film produced by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Cry Water! shows the struggles of women in Ntlalavini in South Africa to access water by scrambling down mountain slopes to get to the river, then carrying water back up in barrels.



Food First?

Fish is at one and the same time both a source of food and income. This is a quintessential characteristic which should be borne in mind while discussing the issue of food security. In fishing communities, on the one hand, there are large numbers who depend primarily on fishing for a livelihood. For them, it is the income from the sale of fish that lets them pay for the bare necessities of life. On the other hand, there are those who rely on farming, fishing or mere gathering from the bush, in order to exist. For the people of such communities, fish is less a source of income than a source of subsistenceoften a vital means of partially meeting their daily nutritional requirements of protein.

From the point of view of consumers, in several developing countries there exist underprivileged classes like agricultural labourers, plantation and mine workers, who bank on fish as a source of cheap protein. This demand for fish is met mostly by domestic or regional trade. In contrast, there are fairly prosperous consumers in developed countries whose culture, habits and dietary preferences, more than anything else, determine the demand for fish. The requirements for this large market are satisfied mostly from imports.

Recent international efforts to address the issue of food security have gone only part of the way. Consider the Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security that sprung from last year’s International Conference on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security, as well as the 31st Session of the FAO Committee on Food Security in February this year. They provide only fragmentary approaches on how to effectively address the issue of food security in the context of fisheries.

Both these meetings focused only on supply-side issues. Augmenting supply per se means little to poorer consumers at the household level, unless the increase in supply should translate into better incomes for poorer fishworkers.

Furthermore, concentrating only on the supply side, without in any way restraining demand, could be ultimately counterproductive. This is because the market is the worst enemy of good resource management. The market mechanism invariably proves efficient enough to absorb large quantities of fish and can thus subvert any management measure, however worthwhile.

– from Comment in SAMUDRA Report No. 14, March 1996




FAO Workshop on the Implementation of the SSF Guidelines
8 – 13 December 2014, Italy, Rome

UN Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction
20 – 23 January 2015, New York, US

UserRights 2015: Tenure & Fishing Rights 2015: A global forum on rights-based approaches for fisheries
23-27 March 2015. Siem Reap, Cambodia

FAO and Cambodia are co-organizing UserRights 2015 to advance knowledge on the governance of tenure and rights-based approaches


Human Rights Standards for Conservation, Part I. To Which Conservation Actors do International Standards Apply? Jael E. Makagon, Harry Jonas and Dilys Roe

This paper analyzes the applicability of international human-rights law to those involved in protected area conservation, including states and state agencies, international organizations, businesses and NGOs. It is the first in a three-part series of technical reports that will serve as a foundation for developing an accessible Guide to Human Rights Standards for Conservation.

AGAMAR (Asociacion Galega de Mariscadoras/es) is a Spanish state level association that was created in 1998 with the aim of bringing together all the shellfish workers of Galicia to get a common voice dedicated to achieving the objectives of the sector, through the articulation of diverse lines of action.