Antonio Tujan Jr., IBON International Director and Co-Chair of PCFS, delivers his opening remarks at the International Conference on Fisheries and Globalization in Iloilo, Philippines (19–21 September 2012). In his remarks, Tujan stresses the need for small fisherfolk to clearly identify the root causes of their problems, their 'targets and solutions.'
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FISHERIES AND GLOBALIZATION
19 – 21 September 2012
Opening Remarks by Antonio Tujan Jr.,
Co-Chair of PCFS and International Director of IBON International
Of all the industries in the world today, we can say that the fisheries industry is the one where we are all connected. We all fish in small pockets of water from each of our countries but we know that the fish we fish are travelling around the world. The waters at our own shores are also waters that are part of the shores in other countries. Because of this, I think the fisheries sector and small-scale fisherfolks should be the most globalized, but in a different kind of globalization. In this age of globalization, this should be the age of fisheries. But the question is, what kind of globalization do we have and what kind do we want?
Ten years ago, the conference of Asian fisherfolk raised the slogan, “Cut away the net of globalization!” because the globalization that we know is neoliberal and corporate with enough destructive force behind it, that is the force of large-scale industrial fisheries run by corporations. The impact of neoliberal globalization which has been felt for decades has been criticized and indicted by many groups. That is why we are so concerned that large-scale industrial fisheries both in aquaculture and capture fisheries have threatened fish stocks to an alarming extent for the whole of humanity and most especially for the marginalized small-scale fisherfolks.
We talk of illegal fishing. But the most urgent common threat facing small fisherfolks, the greatest form of illegal fishing, is legal fishing that should be illegal to the community. It is illegal to humanity and the environment—capturing fish willy-nilly, turning them into fertilizers and oils and not really for human consumption. We know that shipping is one of the major contributors of carbon in the world today.
The general effects of climate change pose a threat to fisheries, which we are only now starting to understand. Pacific islands are disappearing under the water. In the Philippines, some of the islands are shrinking because of rising sea levels, but the bigger problem for us in the coast is of course the cyclones that are part of climate change. The ultimate effect of these typhoons, of course, is on the small-scale fisherfolks, many of whom are women quietly carrying the burden and seeking additional income to support their families.
We can see the obvious impacts, and the obvious need for small-scale fisherfolk’s inclusive participatory governance mechanisms of the seas. But this is not enough. We need to be clear about our targets and our solutions. We need to be clear where the problems lie. Many of