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WTO and UNEP launch report on trade and climate change

The report on “Trade and Climate Change published by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) examines the intersections between trade and climate change from four perspectives: the science of climate change; economics; multilateral efforts to tackle climate change; and national climate change policies and their effect on trade.

The scientific evidence is now clear that the Earth’s climate system is warming as a result of greenhouse gas emissions which are still increasing worldwide, and will continue to increase over the coming decades unless there are significant changes to current laws, policies and actions. Although freer trade could lead to increased CO2 emissions as a result of raising economic activity, it can also help alleviate climate change, for instance by increasing the diffusion of mitigation technologies.

The global economy is expected to be affected by climate change. Sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism and transport infrastructure which are critical for developing countries are more specifically affected. These impacts will often have implications for trade.

For more, see

Research Article

Management effectiveness of the world’s marine fisheries

Mora C, Myers RA, Coll M, Libralato S, Pitcher TJ, et al. (2009). Management Effectiveness of the World’s Marine Fisheries. PLoS Biol 7(6): e1000131. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000131

The research article reports on a survey on the management effectiveness of the world’s fisheries. It found that only 7 per cent of all coastal States in the world carried out rigorous assessments of the stocks and ecosystem effects of fishing, 1.2 per cent also have transparent and participatory political processes to convert scientific recommendations into policy, and less than 1 per cent also provide for an efficient process for the enforcement of regulations.Policy transparency was the prime factor determining fisheries sustainability, while in non-transparent systems, subsidies also had an additional significant toll on sustainability. In 33 per cent of the poorest countries in the world, mostly countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, most of their commercial fishing is carried out by the fleets of the European Union, Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

The paper, published in the Journal PlosBiology, is free and can be located at:

O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L  P R O F I L E

KIARAKoalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan
(People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice)

KIARA was established in 2003 as a non-profit non-governmental organization, initiated by civil society organizations likely WALHI – Friends of the Earth Indonesia, Bina Desa, Federasi Serikat Nelayan Nusantara (FSNN) and individuals concerned with the marine and fisheries sector. KIARA is committed to strengthening the lives and livelihoods of fisherfolk and fishing communities in the coastal areas of the archipelagic State of Indonesia, which consists of around 17,000 islands.

KIARA’s advocacy work focuses on four areas: (1) Women and Fisheries; (2) Shrimp and Aquaculture; (3) Trade and Fisheries; and (4) Community-based Coastal Resources Management (CBCRM). Though primarily concerned with domestic matters, KIARA realizes that due to globalized trade flows, there is also a need to look into the agenda of trade liberalization in the fisheries sector. A specific focus is the Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (IJEPA), which became effective 1 July 2008, and under which as many as 311 fishery products from Indonesia will be eligible for 0 – 15 per cent import tariff into Japan. KIARA believes that the State must recognize and protect traditional fishing grounds;

  • secure general rights for fisherfolk as enjoyed by other citizens, and secure particular rights for traditional fishers, namely, the right to fish, to build on traditional practices, to avail of insurance and social security protection, and the right to manage their fisheries;
  • understand the value and significance of traditional fishery activities, including the role of women; and
  • work towards resource sustainability in production, prioritizing domestic consumption needs over export considerations.

For more details:


B u z z w o r d s


As the ecosystem approach to fisheries gains currency, and fisheries managers increasingly turn to tools like marine protected areas (MPAs) and private ownership of fisheries, a new discourse is emerging in the world of fisheries. A sampling of fashionable terminology, which some have labelled “linguistic scam and “doublespeak:

COZ  = comprehensive ocean zoning

DAP  = dedicated access privilege

EAF   = ecosystem approach to fisheries

EAM   = ecosystem approach to management

EBFM = ecosystem-based fisheries management

EBM   = ecosystem-based management

IFQ   = individual fishery quota (used particularly in Alaskan

ITQ   = individual transferable quota

LAPP = limited access privilege programme (also known as
            ‘catch share’)

MSP     = marine spatial planning


Trade in fish and fishery products

From the World Food Outlook: Global Market Analysis, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):

Global fish trade

According to the FAO statistics (2009), the estimated value of exports of fish and fishery products was US$98 bn, while in terms of quantity (live weight), it was 52 million tonnes. In terms of value, there was a 1.5 per cent decrease from that of 2008 (US$99.5 bn), and 0.1 per cent decline in terms of quantity (52.6).

The global fish trade with imports topped US$100 bn for the first time in 2008, with China confirming its position as the dominant exporter, and Japan regaining its top position among fish importers, helped by a stronger yen. Prospects for 2009 are dominated by overriding concerns over the impacts of the economic crisis on demand and prices. Sales are sluggish in all major markets and prices and margins are under pressure for most seafood products. The only exception is for species facing tight supply situations due to lower catching quotas or production problems in aquaculture.


Per capita consumption


The per capita food fish consumption in 2008 is estimated at 16.9 kg, unchanged from the previous year, of which 8.5 kg came from capture fisheries and the remainder from aquaculture. Lower prices for most fish species have helped sustain consumption, although falling purchasing power is leading consumers in many countries to cut purchases and shop for cheaper alternatives.


Fish prices


According to the FAO Globefish Price Index, fish prices reached an all-time high in September 2008, but have been dropping ever since, and much more than normal for the season. As a result, in February 2009, prices were 3.4 per cent lower than 12 months earlier, and 10.2 per cent below their September peak. The report highlights that there can be further weakness in price for most species over the next six months in 2009.




In the case of the shrimp sector, there is a weakness in demand, which is tightly linked to demand for food services, including restaurants. This demand has been much affected by the economic problems, as consumers reduce consumption of expensive seafood products. This has led to depression in producer prices, leading many farmers to convert to alternative production such as tilapia. Imports decreased by 5 per cent in Japan, 7 per cent in Spain, 2 per cent in France, and 8 per cent in the United Kingdom (UK), whereas they recovered by 1 per cent in the United States (US). The report states that prospects for 2009 still remains downbeat.




The demand for fresh and frozen tuna for direct consumption has been falling, while canned tuna demand has increased due to price-sensitive consumers. Despite declining tuna supplies, there was a decrease in prices in 2008. Frozen skipjack was selling for US$1,100 per tonne in Bangkok in March 2009, about US$500 per tonne below the March 2008 price. Similarly, the price of frozen yellowfin fell to US$1,600 per tonne, compared to US$2,200 per tonne in March 2008. But the US canned and fresh tuna markets seemed to have stabilized after years of weak consumption arising from concerns over mercury presence in tuna. Japan’s tuna imports have declined every year since 2005. In 2008, they shrank by a further 17 per cent in quantity and 2.4 per cent in value. Only UK increased its imports by 10 per cent, while Thailand’s exports increased by over 8 per cent from 2007.


Trade in cephalopods also increased in 2008, especially octopus, which was traded at high prices. However, prices of squids moved downwards, notwithstanding lower catches. Japan’s octopus imports fell by 4 per cent in volume and 1 per cent in value (when compared to 2007), while the faltering demand for squids in Spain, the main importer of Argentine squid, shows bleak prospects for the squid trade. A major development in squid markets in 2008 was China taking over as main importer from Argentina, with almost double the figures from 2007.




The world demand for fishmeal has been affected negatively by the slowing economic growth, especially in China. However, there has also been a decrease in production of fishmeal by the five world’s major exporting countries.




The global economic downturn is depressing demand for tilapia and other Chinese export species, causing the domestic market prices to fall. But demand has been picking up in US and Europe, as lower prices make tilapia more attractive than other fish. In the case of Vietnamese catfish (Pangasius), lower prices have made production uneconomic for farmers. While official forecasts state that there could be an increase in production, it is still expected that production could be lower than 2008.

For more, see





At its core, resource renewal envisions new priorities: of the livelihoods of small producers over production for profit and of domestic consumption over the rapidly expanding export trade in fish.

Ajantha Subramanian in ‘Shorelines: Space and Rights in South India’


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




Abandoned, but Not Forgotten: The Plight of Burma’s Migrant Fishers

A film from the International Transport Workers’ Federation that exposes the brutal treatment of migrant workers from Burma employed in Thailand’s fishing industry.

Badabon-er Katha: A Tale of the Sundarbans

A documentary film in Bengali that focuses on different communities in Bangladesh who depend on the vast wetlands, largely regarded asuninhabitable and inhospitable, for their lives and livelihoods.

Point Zero

A documentary on the proposed nuclear plant at Haripur, East Midnapur, West Bengal, India.

Terramar – Pela Afirmação da Vida dos Povos do Mar

The video, in Portuguese, which is a dialogue between coastal communities and the staff of Terramar, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Ceara, in the northeast of Brazil, records the 15-year history of the NGO and highlights issues of life in the coastal zone of the area.


COFI Reports

The Committee on Fisheries (COFI), a subsidiary body of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Council, is the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture problems and issues are examined and recommendations addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fishworkers, and the international community, periodically on a world-wide basis. COFI has also been used as a forum to negotiate global agreements and non-binding instruments. COFI has held 27 sessions, the first in 1966, and thereafter annually until 1975. Since 1977 the sessions have been held biennially. ICSF’s DC has all COFI reports, from 1966 to 2008.

Shorelines: Space and Rights in South India

This work by Ajantha Subramanian argues that the struggle of fishers in southwest India requires a rethinking of democracy, citizenship and environmentalism. Rather than seeing these fishers as non-moderns inhabiting a bounded cultural world, or as moderns wholly captured by the logic of State power, the author illustrates how they constitute themselves as political subjects.


A world of double standards

There are two possible perspectives on global fisheries: a pessimistic one and an optimistic one According to the pessimistic view, we live in a world of double standards, of virtuous yet empty rhetoric. While world leaders pontificate on responsibility and sustainability, industrial fishing fleets are encouraged to strip global fish stocks down to the last shoal, destroying fish habitats, ruining the coastal commons and causing the collapse of fishing communities world-wide.

The optimistic view, on the other hand, is one of a world in transition, where we are moving from an inherently unsustainable industrial model of fishery extraction, towards a new sustainable pattern of resource use and management.

In response to a worsening situation of world poverty, declining resource bases and environmental deterioration, the last decade has witnessed increasing efforts at the international level to establish a framework and a commitment towards sustainable development. Yet, at the same time, the forces of the free market and commercial interests are being allowed to undermine these efforts.

In 1983, the Brundtland Commission (the World Commission on Environment and Development) received a mandate from the UN General Assembly to formulate a global agenda for change. In their report of 1987, the Commission members were unanimous in their conviction that “the security, well-being, and very survival of the planet depends on a fundamental change towards sustainable development.

Nowhere else is such a change needed as in fisheries. And perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, it is in Europe that the fishery crisis is acute. It has become clear that the Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union (EU) is neither able to address this crisis nor direct the longer-term sustainable development of European fisheries.

The industrial fisheries model, which has sounded the death-knell of European fisheries is now being exported by the EU to the waters of other countries. The redeployment of the EU’s surplus fleet capacity can neither be considered responsible nor in the interests of sustainable development.

from Comment in SAMUDRA Report No. 13, October 1995



Technical Consultation to draft a legally binding instrument on port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (FI-807-3) (Third resumed session)

24 – 28 August 2009, FAO, Rome, Italy

The purpose of the Technical Consultation is to elaborate a draft text of a legally binding instrument on port State measures, based on the 2001 FAO International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and the 2005 FAO Model Scheme on Port State Measures to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (Model Scheme).


Regional Workshop for Africa on the Review of Implementation of the Programme of Work on Protected Areas

6 – 9 October 2009, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the PoWPA Friends Consortium, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

A capacity-building and progress-review workshop for the programme of work on protected areas (PoWPA)to propose ways and means for strengthening the implementation of the PoWPA for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA).


13 – 15 October 2009, APFIC, Manila, Philippines

Regional Consultative Workshop on Best Practices for Supporting and Improving Livelihoods of Small-scale Fisheries and Aquaculture Households.