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

“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 fronts”.

So said the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) in a press statement after the organisation held its annual meeting.

The meeting was attended by fisher-folk and activist representatives from the Caribbean, Honduras, Canada, Mauritania, Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

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

“WFFP has committed itself to continue its work with other social movements and advance the struggle against land and 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.

Though 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,” he said.

“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 its Assembly in Delhi because they want to showcase the symbolic importance that Indian fisherfolk play in WFFP. “The WFFP was formed in Delhi on the 21 of November 1997,” Jaffer pointed out.

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


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