UN Rapporteur on Right to Food Calls for End to “Ocean Grabbing”
30 October 2012: The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, has released a report for presentation to the UN General Assembly (UNGA), calling for Member States to strengthen rules on access to their waters and for greater consideration of local small-scale fisheries. The report, titled "Fisheries and the Right to Food," highlights the challenges facing global fisheries, and presents a series of recommendations to improve the situation.
The report underscores that fisheries fleets need to be managed in a more sustainable way, citing wasteful practices and illegal catches. It outlines the contributions of fisheries to the right to food, primarily with respect to food availability, improved diets and the role of fisheries in sustaining livelihoods.
On current challenges, the report raises the issues of environmental sustainability, globalization of the fishing industry, and the need for a better understanding of whether aquaculture supports food availability for people living in poverty.
Grounded in addressing the right to adequate food, the report's primary recommendations include: increased engagement in international efforts to reduce overfishing by following existing agreements, reducing subsidies and combating illegal fishing; integration of the rights to food into trade agreements; and development of guidelines on sustainable small-scale fisheries, particularly focusing on access and tenure and co-management. [UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Press Release] [Publication: Fisheries and the Right to Food]