World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


'Ocean-grabbing' as serious a threat as ‘land-grabbing’

'Ocean-grabbing' as serious a threat as ‘land-grabbing’ – UN expert on right to food

Geneva / New York, 30 October 2012 – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, warned today of the threat of ‘ocean-grabbing’ to food security, and urged world governments and international bodies to halt the depletion of fish stocks, and take urgent steps to protect, sustain, and share the benefits of fisheries and marine environments.

“‘Ocean-grabbing’ – in the shape of shady access agreements that harm small-scale fishers, unreported catch, incursions into protected waters, and the diversion of resources away from local populations - can be as serious a threat as ‘land-grabbing,’” Mr. De Schutter said as he unveiled a new report on fisheries and the right to food. (An executive summary is available here.)

“Without rapid action to claw back waters from unsustainable practices, fisheries will no longer be able to play a critical role in securing the right to food of millions,” the expert said, noting that “with agricultural systems under increasing pressure, many people are now looking to rivers, lakes and oceans to provide an increasing share of our dietary protein.”

Estimates on the scale of illegal catch range from 10-28 million tons (mt), while some 7.3mt – 10 per cent of global catch – is discarded every year. “It is clear that as fish are becoming less abundant, fishing vessels are tempted to evade rules and conservation strategies,” the Special Rapporteur said.

Many of the world’s waters are fished by distance fleets, Mr. De Schutter noted, calling for the License and Access Agreements (LAAs) governing their activities to be urgently revised. He called for LAAs to include stronger oversight mechanisms to tackle illegal and unreported catch; take full account of the role of fisheries and small-scale fishers in meeting local food needs; strengthen labour rights on fishing vessels; and be concluded only on the basis of human rights impact assessments, to be prepared with the assistance of flag states.

The UN expert called on governments to rethink the models of fisheries that they support, highlighting that small-scale fishers actually catch more fish per gallon of fuel than industrial fleets, and discard fewer fish. “Industrial fishing in far-flung waters may seem like the economic option, but only because fleets are able to pocket major subsidies while externalizing the costs of over-fishing and resource degradation. Future generations will pay the price when the oceans run dry,” he said.

The key challenge, Mr. De Schutter indicated, is to ensure coexistence between industrial fishing and the rights of small-scale fishers and coastal communities - for whom even occasional fishing can constitute an essential safety net in times of crisis. He therefore made the following five recommendations:

1. Create exclusive artisanal fishing zones for small-scale fishers and clamp down on incursions by industrial fleets;
2. Support small-scale fishers' cooperatives and help them rise up the value chain;
3. Put co-management schemes in place to manage fishing resources locally;
4. Refrain from undertaking large-scale development projects, e.g. sand extraction, that adversely affect the livelihoods of small-scale fishers; and
5. Make fisheries and small-scale fishers an integral part of national right to food strategies.

The independent expert drew attention to positive examples, such as the decision to grant community-based user rights to small-scale fishers on the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia (Tonle Sap, Cambodia), and the decision to ban industrial tuna fishing in favour of local ‘pole and line’ fishers in the Maldives.

“It is possible, and necessary, to turn these resources away from over-exploitation, and towards the benefit of local communities,” the Special Rapporteur stressed.

Olivier De Schutter was due to present the report 'Fisheries and the right to food' to the UN General Assembly on 30 October 2012, but the interactive dialogue has been postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. He was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in May 2008 by the UN Human Rights Council. He is independent from any government or organization. Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Food/Pages/FoodIndex.aspx or www.srfood.org

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights
Twitter: http://twitter.com/UNrightswire
Google+ gplus.to/unitednationshumanrights
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/UNOHCHR

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Leaked: UK Counter-Terrorism Training Material

The PREVENT Strategy has permeated all aspects of public life in the UK. It is important that the training provided to public sector workers to implement the strategy is scrutinised for its empiricism. To this end, CAGE has released the most comprehensive leak of PREVENT training material so far. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Aid Urgently Needed For Drought-Stricken Ethiopia

As the severity of ongoing drought in Ethiopia is exacerbated by the arid effects of ‘super El Nino’, ChildFund New Zealand is appealing to more New Zealanders to contribute to their growing aid response. More>>

'Very Concerned' After Court Ruling: UNHRC On Transfer Of 267 People From Australia To Nauru

Most of these people were reportedly brought to Australia from Nauru to receive medical treatment and are in a fragile physical and mental state. The group includes more than 12 women and at least one child who have allegedly suffered sexual assault or harassment while in Nauru. The group also includes 37 children born in Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Sanctions To Be Lifted: NZ Welcomes Implementation Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Duty Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the next stage in the historic nuclear deal between Iran, the Five Permanent (P5) members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany... “New Zealand has now started the domestic process for removing the UN sanctions." More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Davos Reports: 62 People Own Same Wealth As Half The World

Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago, according to an Oxfam report published today ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites in Davos.. More>>

ALSO:

Jakarta: UN Secretary-General On Attacks

The Secretary-General condemns the bombings and gun attacks in Jakarta today... there is absolutely no justification for such acts of terrorism. He hopes the perpetrators of today's attacks will be swiftly brought to justice. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news