Friday, May 24, 2013

USAID pushes for privatization of Central American seas

In the mid-twentieth century, it was believed that the marine biota was inexhaustible. In recent years,it was shown that the water resource is finite and large areas of "fishing grounds" are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted to the estimated degree of over 400 "dead seas", particularly in the Baltic Sea and both coasts of the U.S..

Some of the proposed “solutions” to recover marine resources would allow the Northern Hemisphere industrial fleets to invade their areas for fishing, while simultaneously sending large fishing fleets and more technology to the "Southern Cone", where through direct agreements with rulers, signing free trade agreements, practice in essence illegal, unreported and unregulated acts of piracy in exploitation of fish stocks.

The "Tragedy of the Commons" (Hardin, 1968) is evident when transnational companies gain access to fishing underexploited seas and introduce more ships and technology to deplete the resource. Some suggest that small-scale fishermen are guilty of this "tragedy," but this kind of reasoning is merely preparing the ground to strip them of their way of life.

Another solution is aquaculture, which in the 70's flew high withg shrimp farming, which in less than 40 years wiped out more than half of the natural breeding of marine species (mangrove ecosystems and associated) crop species that occupy large tracts of land and / or sea pouring tons of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen ...) to the oceans, producing eutrofications, and along with other problems, caused negative changes in physical and chemical parameters of the water (acidification, loss of absorption of carbon dioxide ...).

In 2006 the Agency for International Development (USAID) funded an evaluation of the opportunities and challenges for the conservation of coastal marine biodiversity in Latin America, the results of which allowed you to drive in 2009 a program of five years (Task Order under the WATER II IQC) on both coasts of Central America including Belize and Panama, for which they reached an agreement with the "Central American Integration System" (SICA), adopting a neoliberal Strategic Objective: "Economic Freedom: Open, diversified and economic expansion,” whose objectives are to encourage Mechanisms: " to Secure Market-Based, Rights-Based Access to Resources" ... the latter is achieved by "Individual Transferable Fishing Quotas" (ITQs), which means that after a study of populations on a target catch marine species (lobster, conch, shark, snapper ...), we estimate the "total allowable catch" (TAC), and of this total the Government initially deals out a percentage to an individual or boat, then the beneficiary is actually granted shares with all rights attached to a property, which can be transferred by sale, lease, mortgage, inheritance etc. And with the "mechanisms" already mentioned, you can grant concessions of exclusive fishing zones for co-management (public / private, "space rights"), which are also made under the power of private enterprise. In short: Governments are like simple initial servicers, where biodiversity and marine ecosystems are privatized by domestic and / or foreign entities, promoting self-regulation of the dealers (!) Artisanal fishermen disappear and become tenants or sub employees of the owners of the CIT, the CIT alone will not meet its conservation objective and indeed the state loses its sovereignty at sea and their role of managing fisheries.

USAID, among other sources predict results by 2014 of at least 10 CIT established and running on the same number of selected commercial species. All Central American countries are adopting in their legislation the "mechanisms" to ensure the "rights" of the new owners of the seas; only 100,000 small-scale fishermen "in an extension of" at least one Million two hundred thousand have been "affected positively or negatively on both seas via this program in Central America.

The Congress of Honduras, being characterized as being very "helpful", is about to approve the dictates of USAID incorporated into the new draft "Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture" ... Will they be as "helpful" to the rest of the Central American governments ?

Jorge Varela. Sr. Verde

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