WFFP: Annual Coordinating Committee meeting plans to tackle ocean grabbing

Naseegh Jaffer, General Secretary of the World Forum of Fisher people talks to The Hook about the WFFP’s meeting that took place last week in Pondicherry.

“We realize that Ocean Grabbing – in the form of privatisation of coastal lands and Marine Protected Areas – is a very serious threat affecting small-scale fishing communities in almost all the countries with sea front” – said the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) in a press statement after the organisation held its Annual general meeting.

The fisher-folk leaders of the WFFP from the Caribbean, Honduras, Canada, Mauritania, Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan met last week in Pondicherry, India.

The leaders gathered to discuss the main challenges, including ocean grabbing and the implementation of the International Guidelines, facing fisher-folk across the world and how to confront these challenges.

“WFFP has committed itself to continue its work with other social movement and advance the struggle against land ocean grabbing” said Naseegh Jaffer WFFP’s general Secretary.

‘We came to a number of resolutions including declaring this year’s International Fishing Day theme to be – No to Ocean Grabbing- “continued Jaffer.

The fisher community leaders were hosted by WFFP’s member organisation the National Fish-worker Forum of India (NFF) and special focus was given to the Indian Fisher community issues.

Thou special focus was given to Indian Fisher community issues, the forum also discussed how the small-scale fishing communities could benefit from the entire value chain of the fishing industry, how there could be a paradigm shift in terms of how small-scale fishers market their products and Inland fisheries.

“We are going to strengthen our work with Inland Fisheries by working with inland fishing communities and integrate them into the legal system of the Small-Scale fishers,” said Jaffer.

The forum also committed to advancing the implementation of the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small- Scale Fisheries and integrating the Inland Fishing communities into the Small-Scale fishing Sector.

“We are convinced that these guidelines will bring social justice and economic development to small-scale fishing communities in India and across the world” Said Naseegh Jaffer, WFFP’s secretary general.

“As a result we have formed working groups that will embark on different activities that will respond to the issues of inland fisheries, land and ocean grabbing, marketing and the value chain” Jaffer said.

A key strategic decision at the meeting was to hold the coming 7th General Assembly of the movement in Delhi, India in 2017.

The WFFP will host it Assembly in Delhi because they want to showcase the symbolic importance that Indian fisherfolk play in WFFP.

“We are not only showing this importance but WFFP was formed in Dehli on the 21 of November 1997” continued Naseegh.

2017 will be the year of WFFPs 20th anniversary.

The WFFP is now a global fisheries movement representing 40 million people in 37 countries across the world.

This was the WFFP first CC meeting since it elected their new CC members last year, in their 5th General Assembly held in South Africa.


India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan: Fisheries Issues

The World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) is demanding that there be compensation for the families of more than 600 Indian fishermen killed by the Sri Lankan navy since 1984.

This was one of the issues that emerged from the WFFP’s meeting in Pondicherry, India last week.

The WFFP is also committed to ending ocean grabbing and deep sea fishing by foreign vessels in Indian waters as well as pressing for the rapid implementation of the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale fisheries were discussed at an international annual meeting held in India last week.

Speaking at the meeting Mr Muhammad Ali Shah, the chairperson of the Pakistani Fisher-folk Forum and co-chair of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) said: “As a leading fishing nation in the region and the world, the Indian Government has a critical role to play to raise the standard for community based fishery management building on the principles of the International Guidelines on Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries”.

This was a comment based on WFFP’s resolution to take forward the implementation of the guidelines.

Mr Shah further called on the Indian government “to work closely together with the National Fish-workers Forum on the implementation of these guidelines.”

Giving special focus to the issues facing Indian fisheries such as foreign fishing vessels in India’s deep sea and encouraging traditional fisher communities to venture into deep sea fishing, the meeting made the following resolutions:

  • We commit ourselves to intensify the demand that the provisions of the UN law of the seas be seriously and fully implemented by the countries with adjoining sea borders, especially in the South Asian context.
  • On the issue of Indian fishermen who were shot and killed by the Sri Lankan navy, since 1984 the number has escalated and exceeded 600.

In their statement WFFP has said “The unfortunate truth is that the families of these fishermen who had been killed while fishing for livelihood are not compensated sufficiently so that the children could continue with their education. As WFFP we demand that sufficient and justifiable compensation be made to the families of these fishermen by the concerned governments”.

Over the years the arrest of fishermen in Pakistan, Sri Lankan and Indian waters has been a serious political issues.

To this they said:

  • We insist that a permanent solution be found to the issue of fishermen incarceration due to crossing national borders and entering the territory of neighbouring nations, in the case of the South Asian context. Promises for release of arrested fishermen are not sufficient, and it is important that a policy decision should be arrived by these South Asian countries – India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – that no arrest will be made of fisher people who have crossed borders while fishing for their livelihood.

According to the Indian express: Pakistan maritime security forces frequently arrest Indian fishermen and seize their boats for fishing in its territorial waters. Sri Lankan Navy also arrest Indian fishermen for alleged poaching in Lankan waters. The Tamil Nadu government had been demanding the release of all Indian fishermen before bilateral talks to resolve the fishermen issue could resume. Sri Lanka had arrested over 160 fishermen despite the agreements reached at talks held in Chennai in January. The bilateral talks began in mid -January to find a solution to the fishermen issue that often boils into a major political controversy in India.

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Young Coastal Links leader passes on

The National Deputy Chairperson of Coastal Links South Africa, Samkelisiwe Mchunu, has passed away after a short illness. She was 27.

Affectionately known as Samke, she joined CLSA in 2010 and later became a member of the Kwazulu Natal CLSA Provincial Executive Committee (PEC). She was an active member of the organisation and always promoted the interests of small-scale fishers.

“This is very sad news for her family and for the organisation,” said Lindani Ngubane, Masifundise’s KZN Field Worker.

“Samke was a vital member of our organisation, she was young, dedicated and full of energy,” he said.

“We knew we could count on her to always bring a fresh perspective to discussions. We will miss her lively spirit,” he added.

Samke succumbed to a lung infection. She leaves behind two young children and her father. She will be buried this Sunday, 26 July in Durban.

Thai Fishing Industry part of Human Slavery

By: The Gaurdian

An investigation by the Gaurdian newspaper uncovers extensive role of authorities, fishermen and traffickers in enslaving thousands of Rohingya, who were held in deadly jungle camps.

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