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“Ocean-Grabbing” A Threat To Developing Nations

Richer countries attempting to keep up with demand by fishing the waters of poorer countries need to rein it in, according to a newly released United Nations report.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Depleting fish stocks around the world have caused fleets from some richer countries to start seeking out fish in waters belonging to poorer countries, with various ecological and economic consequences, according to a new report from the office of the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the right to food. Olivier De Schutter says that this practice of exploitative “ocean-grabbing” is similar to “land-grabbing” in terms of the damage it can cause to food security, existing fish stocks, and the financial security of local fishermen.

What’s the Big Idea?

It’s not just that the fleets fish in these waters; it’s that some of them do so without regard to sustainability practices and other rules designed to protect local fishing industries and the environment. Some of the suggestions De Schutter offers to help rectify the situation include immediate revision of licensing and access agreements on fisheries, better support for smaller-scale fishing fleets, which serve the local population, and the creation of “artisanal” fishing zones to which these fleets would have first priority.

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