Is Narmada water being made to flow in Sabarmati not supplied to city of Ahmedabad? This has furthered the idea of river...
I have been selling glass for commercial buildings talking about light, thermal/solar heat gain etc.etc..but I...
Dear Saxena ji,
Thank you for inquiry.
West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
THIS struggle is for the future: that of ours and the fish," the
late Joyachen Antony, leader of traditional fisherfolk of Kerala,
had said way back in 1981, on the fifth day of his nirahara
satyagraha (hunger strike) demanding that monsoon trawling
be banned in the state, Uncontrolled trawling for prawns -
the 'pink gold' - had led to extensive damage to the coastal
ecosystem. Trawlers were introduced and encouraged by the
government. Therefore, it was for the government to ensure
their proper conduct.
Eight years of such persistent and militant demands by
smallscale fishworkers and four expert committees later, monsoon trawling was finally banned in Kerala in 1989.
Meanwhile, in July 1984, Joyachen and some of his colleagues
had travelled to Rome to participate in the International
Conference of Fishworkers and their Supporters (ICFWS), held
parallel to the Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO)
World Conference on Fisheries Management and
Development. There they met their peers from maritime states
as widely separated as Chile, Canada, Norway, Senegal,
Indonesia and the Philippines. And they realised that the
world over, the problems fisherfolk face were similar: trawler
intrusions, destructive overfishing, coastal pollution, exploitation by merchants and middlemen and a poor living standard.
ICFWS demanded a greater recognition of fishworkers'
rights to a secure and just livelihood; the possibility of participating in policymaking which affected their lives; and better
resource allocation regimes to protect their access to fishing
grounds. It challenged world fishery ministers gathered at
the FAO Conference to evolve strategies for fisheries which
were just, participatory, self-reliant and sustainable, giving
centrality to the role of fishworkers. Today, the I AO Code of
Conduct for Responsible Fisheries can be taken as a late but
important first step to answer this challenge.
The Code arises out of the Declaration of Cancun, made at the
Conference on Responsible Fishing, sponsored by the
Government of Mexico in 1992. The Code has been formulated to be consistent with the United Nations Convention on
the Law of the Seas of 1982, and taking into account the strategy endorsed by the 1984 FAO World Conference on Fisheries
Management and Development, the 1992 Rio Declaration and
the Agenda 21 of United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development. It has also taken into
careful account the just concluded UN
Conference on Straddling Stocks and
Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.
The Code sets out voluntary international standards of behaviour for
responsible practices in fisheries based
on the general principle that the right to
fish carried with it the obligation to do so
in a responsible manner. Only this can
ensure effective conservation and management of aquatic life. The Code recognises the interests of all those concerned
with fisheries, as well as the interests of
the consumers and other users.
The signatory states and all the
various interest groups have been
entreated to apply the Code. It is composed of general principles and thematic
and management articles. The management articles are very closely in line with
the treaty on straddling fish stocks, but
are devoid of the dimensions of equitable allocation and participatory management, so essential for conservation of
the coastal marine resources. The articles
on fishing operations are fairly comprehensive, covering fishing practices, gear
selectivity, energy optimisation, marine
environment, atmosphere protection
and artificial reefs and fish aggregation
The articles on aquaculture urge
states to ensure that aquaculture will not
negatively affect the livelihood of local
communities and their access to fishing
grounds. It also suggests promotion of
active participation of fishfarmers and
their communities in the development
of responsible aquaculture practices.
The articles on integration of fisheries into coastal area management permit the evolution of a
holistic ecosystem management. The articles on post-harvest
practices and trade stress upon fairness, equity and environmental concerns top priority and calls for laws and regulations
governing fish trade.
The article on fisheries research stresses upon integrated
and multi-disciplinary research and the setting up of appropriate institutional frameworks to promote this. It emphasises
that the role of traditional knowledge and technologies needs
to be investigated and strengthened.
But the Code does not deal with issues specific to women
in the fisheries. Neither does it specifically highlight the role
of fisherfolks' organisations, nor envisage any special role for
non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It is claimed that the
Code is addressed to all these sectors and that they should
actively ensure that it is implemented.
But whose code? Whose conduct is it meant to influence?
The Code was drawn up during a series of technical sessions
attended by government representatives and then submitted
for necessary finalisation to relevant FAO committees, the
Council and the Conference.
International NGOS, like Greenpeace,
World Wide Fund for Nature and
International Transportworkers Federation, participated actively at every stage
of drawing up the Code. The interests of
smallscale fishworkers were represented
directly by their national organisations
during some sessions, but largely
through the International Collective in
Support of Fishworkers - a network
which was a fallout of the ICFWS of 1984.
Consequently, though the Code is a
document largely from above, the
direct and indirect involvement of
smalIscale fishworkers in influencing
its formulation makes a role for them in
its implementation, which is both
important and possible.
FAO is also planning some meaningful follow-up to monitor the Code's
implementation. Measures are afoot to
ensure that, as a first step, the Code is
translated into as many languages as
possible and widely disseminated,
generating greater awareness among
fisherfolks' organisations. This will also
lead to international-level fishworker-
NGO-government exchange programmes
to learn about successful examples of
responsible fisheries management and
But in the final analysis, what is the
Code all about? Joyachen is history.
Many others like him the world
over, too, are dead - some sacrificing
their lives for the cause. Who, then,
will assess the implication of this first
international response to
struggle and carry it forward?
While the nation state is the custodian of the living
resources within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), its
careful stewardship can only be undertaken by those who
have a certain genuine 'connectedness' to the resource.
Only smalIscale fishworkers like Joyachen qualify for
this. They see the 'connectedness' between their future and
that of the fish.
But they hardly need a code for their conduct. They
have been responsible for generations, and they had
demanded the code for protection against other stakeholders/
claimants to marine resource. in that sense, the Code is a good
placard to be raised in the struggle for more responsible
fishing, in which the mighty are accountable for their actions
and the weak not ruined.
Moving towards responsible fisheries in the 21st century
will depend largely on the manner in which coastal smallscale
fishing communities and other fishworkers can push for a
'globalisation' of their concerns - dealing simultaneously
with the global and the local.