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Our Seas are Empty today-So, our plates and our stomachs are empty. - FAFO statement

Written By NAFSO on Sunday, April 01, 2012 | 9:18:00 PM

Mr. President of IFAD, Vice President, Diplomatic delegates, Comrades, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name is Herman Kumara,
 I represent Small Scale, Artisanal Fishers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, through World Forum of Fisher Peoples’. [WFFP].
 Within the given short period I need to draw your attention on the situation of SSF, why those happened so and possible solutions we foresee to overcome the situation. However, our message to this august assembly may be disturbed you all.

Why do I say so?
Our Seas are Empty today,
Our Nets are empty too.
So, our plates and our stomachs are empty.

 This is the disaster. The FAO has reported and we are daily experiencing the depletion of fish stocks and no viable income for our survival. What are the reasons of empty seas?

Over exploitation of marine resources by Factory trawlers, Pollution due to dumping garbage and nuclear wastes to the aquatic environment, destructive fishing gears, dynamiting, bottom trawlers and other destructive methods so the recovery rate is very low.

Why our nets are empty?

That is because privatization of coastal and aquatic resources through ITQs, tourism, coastal industrial aqua culture practices. At the same time unaffordable rates of inputs such as fishing gears, Kerosene and other fuel, spare parts, prevent fishers to engage fishing.
Due to poor catch, fishers travel behind fish stocks and cross the international maritime boundaries and capture by coast guards and help in foreign jails for months or years. At the same time, the natural disasters caused to the coastal communities to put their life in to danger. And all these lead to the fisher communities to push in to the poverty, hunger and malnourished in many parts of the world.

We need solutions for all these vulnerable situations. However, when fisher communities are ready to overcome these situations through manage, own and sustain the water bodies, fisheries resources preventing from destructions, the respective regimes are not welcome our involvement, practical knowledge, wisdom we gained through life struggles to face such challenges.

 In this context, we welcome IFAD’s initiative to bring farmers organizations in the world to get the views of them and to promote stake holder participation effectively. Though there is limited participation for Fisher Folk organization, we do hope the attention will be paid for the voice of the fisher folk organizations adequately.
 However, we need adequate space for policy dialogues as small scale food producers. We do hope IFAD would facilitate these in many levels, starting from local, national, regional and global scales. For this we as WFFP and as representatives of Small Scale, artisanal Fisher Folk organizations urge from this august body of FAFO, to consider the important role play by the SSF, to reduce poverty, contribute to food security in the world and eradicate hunger and malnutrition and support SSF and their organizations to work effectively in National, regional and global levels.
 In concrete terms, we urge IFAD to consider; 
 To organize a special session on Small Scale Fisheries, Food Security and Poverty Reduction at the next Farmers Forum to be held in 2014.
 Support and facilitate to the fisher folk organizations to participate the Rio plus 20 global conference to be held in Brazil in 2012.
 In collaboration with all Rome based UN agencies, such as FAO, IFAD and WFP to facilitate the FF organizations and their effective participation of formulation Voluntary Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries in the world.
This way, ensure FF contribution to supply cheap protein food supply to the poor and needy, reduce hunger and malnutrition and poverty among fisheries communities.
Through these, we believe the recognition of fisher folk and the dignity of them will be enhanced as important small scale food producer in the world. There will be more youth engage in fisheries when fisheries become a viable and respectable livelihood among others.

Thank You Mr. President.
Herman Kumara, Convener-National Fisheries Solidarity Movement[NAFSO],
Special Invitee, World Forum of Fisher Peoples’ [WFFP] 2010 Statement
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