EU - Act Now on Ocean Grabbing

  • by: Judith B.
  • target: Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission

Land grabs happen when rich countries or corporations buy up farmland in much poorer countries, displacing small farmers. Land grabs exacerbate food insecurity and poverty. Something very similar and just as destructive is happening in the oceans.

With fish stocks dwindling due to overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution and developed countries all setting quotas, commercial fishing operations are literally turning their attention overseas.

Ocean grabbing is the setting up of highly dubious access agreements with struggling economies. For example, a European industrial fishing fleet negotiates fishing rights from a struggling economy in Africa before swooping in and scooping up the fish. The result is that small local fishermen lose their livelihoods and the oceans’ fish stocks are placed under more pressure than ever before.

Ocean grabbing is already happening, with disastrous results. It has to stop now. Tell the EU to take immediate action on this grossly unjust and unsustainable practice.

We the undersigned ask that you put an immediate stop to the practice of “ocean grabbing” – agreements set up between European countries and much poorer ones for the foreign industrial fishing fleets to have fishing rights outside their own waters. Not all ocean grabbing is legal under international or EU law.

However, legal or illegal, it has an immediate and devastating impact on the communities and food security of the countries giving up fishing rights, and also is a grave threat to global fish stocks.

Protecting our oceans must be a number one priority for Europe. The only sustainable and just solution to dwindling fish stocks is scientifically based quotas. Ransacking other countries’ seas is not only abusive; it is also only ever going to be a short term solution.

Please take action on this immediately.

Thank you for your attention.

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