As the World Trade Ministers meet to negotiate the fisheries subsidies, the FishNet Alliance has called for the need to safeguard the interests of artisanal fishers.
The Coordinator of the FishNet Alliance, Mr. Stephen Oduware, in a press statement, noted that “massive plundering of fisheries on Africa’s continental waters has severely impacted the economy of artisanal fishers in the region as well as affecting the nutrition of the peoples.”
He thereafter noted that members of FishNet Alliance are strongly opposed to the subsidies and unregulated resultant incentivizing of unregulated fishing in African waters.
The Alliance thereafter reiterated that, “there is need for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to transparently and aggressively negotiate on the basis of the root causes and drivers of overfishing and other related issues and go after corporate and vested interests doling out billions of dollars as subsidies for dangerous fishing expeditions, especially harmful fishing practices within and outside their national jurisdiction.
“FishNet Alliance also demands that there should be synergy between WTO and other relevant international instruments to check these offshore trades that seek only to commodify water bodies at the detriment of the rich and diverse aquatic ecosystems.
“FishNet Alliance aligns with the intent of SDG 14.6 to have nations refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation.”
Oduware reiterated that, “the WTO should garner supports and incentives for small scale/artisanal fishers in developing and least developed countries and encourage their local community-driven conservation efforts.
He added that, “majority of our people depend on fishes for animal protein and for livelihoods. The WTO should do the needful and keep the exploitative sharks at bay.”
The FishNet Alliance is an Africa-wide network of fishers engaged in and promoting sustainable fishing practices in line with ecosystem limits. The Alliance stands to oppose extractive activities in water bodies – including rivers, lakes and oceans.