Masifundise supports a fisheries allocation process that benefits those most in need

We ran this on Jan. 7th, Many small-scale fishermen are threatening to turn to organised crime in order to sustain their families. This is a follow up article from Masifundise – Masifundise supports a fisheries allocation process that benefits those most in need. The furore around the line fish allocations is still raging, even after government granted interim relief to previous rights holders. As an organisation that works with thousands of small-scale fishers around the country, we need to offer a few critical comments on this matter. Read [email protected]undise.org Special Thank’s to Carsten Pederson 12:54

4 Responses to Masifundise supports a fisheries allocation process that benefits those most in need

  1. Dick Grachek says:

    that benefits those most in need”

    Reply Dick GrachekJanuary 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm # WHY PRIVATIZATION/CONSOLIDATION? WHAT IS THE RATIONALE?
    The claim: Fish populations worldwide are imperiled from overfishing. The remedy: Individual Transferrable Fishing Quotas or Catch Shares will stop overfishing by making the fisheries more efficient.
    Efficiency is a mainstay in the argument for consolidation through Catch Shares. Economists and the free market environmentalists talk about more efficient fisheries. What exactly do they mean by this? They mean cheaper production costs and more profit i.e., less people, less jobs, fewer boats, and more production, —usually fewer but larger factory vessels. In the case of aquaculture it entails the centralized raising and feeding or industrialized mass production of fish on fish farms.
    The World Bank’s Global Program for Fisheries (PROFISH) has an ongoing study of the efficiency of the world’s fisheries. It is called “The Rent Drain Project”. “Rent” is a term in economics which essentially means the profit or net economic benefit from a property or resource with the connotation of not being involved in the actual “hands on” production process.
    The study also has the title of “The Sunken Billions. The Economic Justification for Fisheries Reform” in which the specific countries’ fisheries are studied and advised as to their “inefficiency”, usually citing excess fleet capacity as the culprit and recommending reductions of from 40% to 80% in the number of fishing vessels. This would increase consolidation, therefore efficiency, to the level where governments would not see their “rent” or profits from the resource being drained by small privately owned, community based “inefficient” fishing boats. See The Microsoft PowerPoint – Kelleher “Sunken Billions” for WWF1.ppshttp://www.unep.ch/etb/events/Ecuador%20Symposium%20July%202009/presentations/Kelleher%20Sunken%20Billions%20for%20WWF1.pdf
    In other words, by extracting rent from our local fisheries the commodified allocations would pay dividends to individuals or funds that own, but don’t enter into the hands on production.
    This is Wall Street investor mentality: exacting profit through buying and selling shares of production or catch without doing the work involved; without touching a fish. Catch Shares and this entire system have nothing to do with the health of the fish or the fishery. Wall Street is hungry for a new investment tool, a new derivative package, a new economic “bubble” driver.
    This system leads to overcapitalization in the fishery, not as money flows to the vessels and fishermen, but as it rattles around among the private equity investors, and constantly increases the price of buying the right to catch a pound of fish, until eventually the undercapitalized fisherman is priced out of his own business.
    Catch Shares essentially render a fishing license worthless. The system ultimately will allow outside or non-license holders to own and collect “rent” from the fish poundage landed; and the license then becomes nothing more than the opportunity to do the back breaking work while someone else collects the rent or the profit. This “someone else” most likely purchased the catch shares with borrowed money, which then renders the price of the fish share vulnerable to interest rates and debt service fluctuations and the ability of the “owners” to meet their financial obligations.
    In the days-at-sea effort control system, fishermen can buy and sell each other’s right to fish for groundfish species, but it all stays with the license holders. Catch Shares will open up the actual ownership of the pounds of fish to outside investors i.e., “outside” of the licensed fishermen.
    These Catch Share or ITQ concepts are based on academic theories of economics and business, written by the professors at universities such as University of Rhode Island, University of British Columbia, and University of Iceland. Many of these university departments are supported by grants from environmental organizations which are hostile to fishing, and doing the bidding of the funding parent corporations, which have various agendas all aimed at increasing their profit margins. Many of these economic theorists know little or nothing about sustaining the resource or the welfare of the fishing communities dependent on that resource.
    Some of these academics have the title of bio-economist, or resource economist, but it’s clear from the sometimes devastating effects of these theories out in the world, that the theoreticians don’t know much about the fish and even less about the fishing industry.
    In British Columbia fisheries leasing fees or the “rent” for catch shares (the privilege to catch the fish) can take up to 70 to 80 percent of the value of the fish that come out of the fish hold.
    For a cogent statement of an Icelandic economist’s bogus “interest” in the fisheries, see Ragnar Arnason, Prof. Dept of Economics at the University of Iceland, “Iceland’s ITQ system creates new wealth” http://www.ejsd.org/public/journal_article/9 .,
    A fleet of many privately owned small boats have conservation systems and limits built in. They are restricted by weather and range and limited funding, by market prices, fuel and mechanical repair costs; they naturally spend down (non-fishing) time due to these factors. Due to narrow financial margins and weather safety issues, they can only fish for the stocks that are plentiful and within reach of their ports. It is not financially viable for them to fish on depleted stocks. This coupled with intelligent management will secure the health of the resource and the fishery.
    A Fleet of many small “inefficient” boats will sustain the fish, preserve jobs, provide a vital healthy source of fresh food daily, and keep the traditional coastal fishing communities thriving.
    ITQ or Catch share management clearly invites the disastrous effects of private equity market capitalization that is responsible for so much of the economic mayhem in the world today.

  2. Thank you Richard for so clearly presenting the case!
    A fleet of small “inefficient” boats owned by boots on deck fishermen had our coastal communities thriving for centuries! Catch Shares have been destroying the very fabric of these communities.

  3. STRIPEDBASSHOLE says:

    Great Job Dick. Doesn’t this have a familiar Ring to the Hostile Take-Overs of yesteryears read “Den of Thieves” Bosky, Milken and company. In fact the Milken Institute is even involved here.
    Energy and Wind Farms are off subject but I smell an ENRON II.
    Never forget one mans decision through an Executive Order namely Obama enabled this.

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