Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Trade Liberalisation: Devastating Consquences for Fish?

This is a story that the "anti-globalization" brigade will pounce on. This is a classic globalisation scare story from Greenpeace that, in this case, appears to have some merit.

Aside: My current reading "Why Globalisation Works" by Martin Wolf, is essential reading for all those interested in globalisation issues and makes a convincing and well researched "pro-globalization" case. A bit thin on current hard-core academic reasearch and heavy on the hundreds of other "journalist-written books" for my liking but an excellent and interesting read none the less. A good antidote to the recently read "Globalization and its Discontents" by Joseph Stiglitz.

The answer of course, and covered by Wolf in his book, is to ensure that current legistlation can be enforced and to implement new rules on the sustainablity and management of our fisheries. No easy task when one considers the countries concerned. Weak fishery management policies are too blame but until this is sorted out the Greenpeace conclusions certainly represent a plausible scenario.

Trading Away Our Oceans
This paper shows the real and negative conservation and development impacts of trade liberalization in fish and fishery products, which were included in the catch-all scope of the Doha Round’s Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations. It shows how further liberalization will speed up the pace of over-fishing, further increase unsustainable aquaculture production, and have generally devastating consequences for fish, the wider marine environment, developing countries and the one billion poor people worldwide who depend on fish as their primary source of protein. The evidence for this from case studies and projections carried out by different organizations is overwhelming.

The combination of tariff reductions and weak fish management and enforcement regimes will inevitably lead to over-fishing and the exhaustion and collapse of many of the world’s wild fish stocks. In the marine environment, trade liberalization will hasten the already significant losses of biological and genetic diversity caused by more than five decades of large-scale industrial over-fishing; while on dry land it will exacerbate poverty and insecurity for the millions of poor people who depend on the wild fishery for their food and livelihoods.

The PDF of this paper is available for download from the Greenpeace link HERE.

The report also includes a nice Adam Smith quote that I will just throw in for good measure:
“The Earth and the fullness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity.” - Adam Smith, 1766 Lecture on Jurisprudence

Hat-tip: Treehugger.

No comments: