Voice of FML at the UN Ocean Conference, 2017

Robert’s contribution to the UN Ocean Conference, 2017 at New York as a panelist for side events

Organised by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), FAO, Brot für die Welt, Confédération Africaine des Organisations Professionnelles de la Pêche Artisanale (CAOPA), International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), fair-oceans

On theme:

The fish of the poor: Small pelagic resources as a key for small scale fisheries contribution to SDGs.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017
Time: 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
At German Mission to the UN

Note: This is only a brief outline of the contribution.

Indian ocean is blessed with rich and diverse marine living resources. The region has the largest number of artisanal fishermen in the world, for example, 4 million people depend upon their livelihoods on the marine fisheries in India. The majority are using different and varied crafts and gears. The largest share of pelagic fish production are Indian oil sardine, Indian mackerel, and ribbon fish, which are traditionally caught by the small scale fishers which accounts the 48.2% of the total fish production in India, according to National Policy on Marine Fisheries (NPMF), 2017.

At the same time a significant proportion of the population in the region lives in poverty. As an example, 61% of active fishermen live below poverty line (BPL) in India. The coastal communities are one of the most vulnerable people in the region.

The highly productive marine ecosystems in the region attract encroachment by both domestic and foreign large scale fishing vessels.
In addition, NPMF encourages commercialisation of fish and private investments in the name of deep sea fishing without considering the fact that resource depletion in the deep sea are comparatively less than the other areas. In effect, the large scale fishing vessels come to the near shore areas where the small fisheries livelihoods depend upon and where already a drastic decline is taking place, particularly in the case of oil sardine production from half a million tonnes a few years ago to 266,000 tonnes in 2015.

We identify there are three main reasons for this trend:

-increasing demand for fish meal production
-climate change and ocean pollution
-increasing presence of jelly fishes in the near in shore areas, this is because of the breakwater constructions for the harbour and other related purposes.