Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How to destroy a country with WTO

"Now, after centuries of surviving on fish such as the tuna and shrimp that thrive in Pakistan's coastal waters, many traditional fishing communities are facing ruin as the sea is stripped bare by foreign trawler fleets and industrial overfishing.
According to trade campaigners, it is a story that is being replicated in poor fishing communities in developing countries across the world. And as the current round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations splutter back to life, the demise of Pakistan's fishing communities is being held up as a warning of the impact that the moves to further liberalise global fishing could have on some of the world's most deprived communities."

Read this absolutely frightening account of how the fishing stocks of Pakistan are being depleted by the joint action of a corrupt and subservient government, WTO trade rules and World Bank development projects. By the way, the situation in Yemen is exactly the same, but there is no ActionAid working there! Yemen has one of the richest fish stocks and it is quickly being depleted by industrial fishing and trawling, many of which originate from China. When I visited Socotra a few years back, I was told by the local fishermen that their fish takes have declined by 100% in a few years, since the "rediscovery" of Socotra and its transformation into a nature reserve. Similar stories were told to me in Hodeidah where the trawlers drag their nets over the coral reefs and destroy them. They remove large quantities of fish, but they only keep the "precious" species that fetch a high price on the market. They throw the dead "cheap" fish back into the sea. So one trawler may bring in 100 tons of fish, but to do that, they will have to kill 300 tons of fish, not counting the irreparable damage to the corals. Corrupt Yemeni politicians issue permits to the trawlers who act in impunity.

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