July 1st 2012, London - Unfair and exploitative political agreements allow Europeans to eat fish from the plates of developing countries, according to a study led by University of British Columbia researchers.
In the case of Madagascar, the European Union pays less than it did two decades ago while catching more fish. Since 1986, the EU's quotas for catching fish in Madagascar's waters have increased by 30 per cent while its access fees have decreased by 20 per cent. As a result, the total annual income for Madagascar decreased by almost 90 per cent between 1986 and 2010.
An international team of researchers from Madagascar, the EU, Canada and the World Bank offers suggestions for fixing the problem in a new paper published online this week in the journal Marine Policy.
Currently, EU countries pay fees equivalent to less than three per cent of the landed value of the catch to access Madagascar's resources with highly subsidised fishing fleets, creating high profit margins for privately held companies, despite the EU's apparent commitment to channel such profits back to developing countries.
"The EU is unfairly profiting from the resources of one of the world's poorest countries," says co-author Rashid Sumaila, a fisheries economist and director of the UBC Fisheries Centre. "And they are breaking their own laws to do it."
Based on a previous study, which suggested that an access fee at 50 per cent of the gross revenue would be implementable, the authors estimated that Madagascar could get 8.7 million Euro per year for access to its fish stocks – more than five times the amount the country currently receives.
"These findings raise profound ethical questions that the EU must address," says marine ecologist and study co-author Alasdair Harris from conservation NGO Blue Ventures. "The EU must take steps to ensure that all EU vessels, wherever they operate in the world, fish sustainably and in line with the its own commitments to protecting the interests of developing countries."
- To view the study abstract please click here to be redirected to ScienceDirect
Frédéric Le Manach, UBC Fisheries Centre, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Alasdair Harris, Blue Ventures Conservation, e-mail: email@example.com
BACKGROUND | EU underpays for fish
Fisheries partnership agreements with developing countries allow EU vessels to access fish stocks in these countries' exclusive economic zone for a fee. With three quarters of the EU's domestic fish stocks now overfished, these agreements are increasingly important to EU fishing businesses. Currently, more than half of EU catches come from outside EU waters.
Madagascar's agreement with the EU was recently renewed for a further two-year period beginning in January 2013. This latest agreement was reached in a negotiation closed to independent observers.
One of the poorest countries in the world, two-thirds of Madagascar's population of 25 million faces chronic food insecurity, and more than 85 per cent live in poverty.
The Sea Around Us Project is a scientific collaboration between the University of British Columbia and the Pew Environment Group since 1999.
Blue Ventures is an award-winning UK-based marine conservation organisation dedicated to working with local communities to conserve threatened marine environments.
Blue Ventures is an award-winning marine conservation organisation dedicated to conservation, education and sustainable development in tropical coastal communities. Through our marine expeditions, volunteers from around the world join us on career breaks, student gap years and internships, working closely with our field research teams, in partnership with local communities.
Blue Ventures' projects are focused in environmentally and culturally sensitive regions of the world. All project visitors are required to be aware that we are privileged guests in our host countries, towns and villages. We insist that all team members, acting as ambassadors to Blue Ventures, adapt their behaviour to recognise local cultural sensitivities. We have a responsibility to minimise negative impacts on local environments and communities where we work, as well as to provide tangible benefits to our host communities.
To find out more about Blue Ventures Expeditions visit our volunteer pages on our website.
|< Prev||Next >|