10 February, 2015
The struggle against Ocean Grabbing is a struggle of all fisher peoples across the world. In solidarity with the Honduran fishers and the Honduran WFFP members, the WFFP has urgently alerted the president and the members of the national congress to adhere to their international obligations.
Honduras, as a member of the United Nations and a signatory to the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries, is obliged to promote the contribution of small-scale fisheries to an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the Honduran people.
Yet, the political elite continues to work together with Ocean Grabbers to revise the 1959 Fisheries Act in Honduras. According to the special invitee of the WFFP and Goldman Environmental Prize winner, Mr. Jorge Varela, the reform process has been steered and controlled by and for a political and economical elite who are more interested in opening up for foreign take-over of Honduran resources than in protecting the rights of the Honduran fishers and in the long term, the interests of the nation.
“we have for long engaged with our government to find solutions that are rooted in fishing communities and are to the long term benefit of our people and environment, but this has become increasingly difficult over the past few years” says Varela.
In the name of poverty eradication and ‘sustainable’ utilisation of the marine resources, the government prepared a new fisheries act in 2012. This proposed act, however, builds on the Individual Transferable Quota system that is doomed to fail.
The WFFP, together with partners and researchers from across the world, has done extensive research on the consequences of Transferable Quota systems, and experiences from all over the world clearly demonstrate that these systems are developed to the benefit of large scale capital interests – national and foreign – and they result in mass evictions of small-scale fisher peoples. See the Global Ocean Grab for more information.
The Honduran fisher peoples and Jorge Varela have lobbied intensively and successfully to prevent the government from endorsing the proposed Act, but when president Mr. Juan Orlando Hernández, from the conservative National Party of Honduras, assumed office in January 2014 the reform process was kicked alive again.
The revived threat to the fisher people of Honduras calls for more political pressure and support from political allies in Honduras and abroad. The WFFP is committed to escalate the fight against Ocean Grabbing and has reacted to the situation in Honduras by reminding the Honduran rulers of their international obligations. They have advised them to refrain from implementing a system based on transferable quotas and on industrial aquaculture concessions.
In an open letter to the president and the members of the National Congress, the Secretary General of the WFFP reiterates that the Republic of Honduras has a unique opportunity to develop new fisheries and aquaculture legislation that will be to the benefit of the masses of fisher peoples and their communities – instead of benefiting a minority elite.