On November 21, Masifundise Development Trust and Coastal Links South Africa, celebrates World Fisheries Day with fishing communities all over the world, to celebrate the formation of the World Forum of Fisher People, an organisation that puts the struggles of fishing communities on the global agenda.
On this important day, fishing communities draw attention to overfishing, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the sustainability of our marine and freshwater resources.
We also celebrate World Fisheries Day to draw attention and awareness to the importance of aquatic environments in sustaining life both in and out of water.
Since its inception, the day has been celebrated through rallies, workshops, public meetings, cultural programs, dramas, exhibition, music shows, and demonstrations to highlight the importance of maintaining the world’s fisheries.
World Fisheries Day helps in highlighting the critical importance to human lives, of water and the lives it sustains, both in and out of water.
On World Fisheries Day, we also highlight the struggle of Small-Scale Fishers for recognition nationally and to be allocated adequate rights to guarantee their sustainable livelihoods.
Small-Scale Fishers in South Africa are looking forward to the implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy, which will guarantee them adequate rights in their struggle for sustainable livelihoods.
Globally, there are a number of issues that fishers face and challenge and around which they constantly have to unite.
One such important issue is the lack of access to healthy and culturally appropriate food. The right to food is a basic human right, yet fishers all over the world have been bearing the brunt of neoliberalist systems that seek to advance the ideologies of a few wealthy individuals and big corporations.
As times goes by, we see more fisher folk, including peasants and indigenous people losing their land and access to much needed resources to sustain their livelihoods.
The protection of food sovereignty has always been a cause for fishers to unite and protect what belongs to them. This protection has been rooted in the unconditional love of the marine ecosystem and the advancement of communities through human rights based approaches.
As we mark World Fisheries Day, Masifundise encourages role players to take into cognisance the important of aquatic environments in sustaining life. We therefore stand in solidarity with the World Forum for Fisher People to encourage the effective implementation of the International Small-Scale Fisheries guidelines and say “no to distorting its interpretation”.
Let us fight for the human rights of the millions of fisher people whose livelihoods are threatened or lost due to what today is known as Ocean, Land and Water Grabbing
As a struggle to secure human rights of fisher people, Masifundise will continue to advocate for and empower small-scale fishers and fishing communities in South Africa.
We create awareness around #WorldFisheriesDay by releasing the following statement from the World Forum of Fisher People: http://worldfishers.org/wpcontent/uploads/2016/11/WFD_2016_statement_WFFP.EN_.pdf