An urgent need to save the marine ecosystem from corporate capture while restoring the livelihood and dignity of fishers has been underscored.
The submission was made on Thursday, August 8, 2019 at the Okrika Waterfront, Port Harcourt, Rivers State at the close of a two-day meeting by FishNet Alliance.
Member of the Alliance observed that the impact of the extractive industries in one location has direct, or an indirect, impact on fishing communities in another location as pollution knows no geographical boundaries.
In a resolution at the close of deliberations titled “Fish Not Oil – Okrika Waterfront Declaration”, FishNet Alliance, allies and community representatives at the assembly resolved and demanded as follows:
- Extraction of fossil fuel/minerals of any kind offshore and onshore must stop and no new fields should be opened.
- There should be greater increased participation in public policies of fishers regarding the marine environment.
- There should be promotion of traditional knowledge of fishing practices, including those that would help mitigate climate change impacts.
- Halting of indiscriminate displacement of fishing settlements and sand-filling of fishing creeks and rivers.
- The use of chemicals and explosives to enhance fishing in our waters should be discouraged in our coastal communities.
- A strong campaign for the rights of the fishers to earn a living from the fishing and contribute to the economy of their countries without hindrance. We hereby press for justice and/or compensation in cases where these rights have been abridged by corporations and governments.
- Condemnation of industrial fishing in local grounds.
- One day for action for fishnet Alliance in every country maybe link up with the world ocean day, international day for artisanal fishers in which FishNet Alliance will have one topic.
- Corporations who have polluted the environment should clean-up immediately.
The Assembly elected an interim International Steering Committee with one member each from Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria, Togo, DRC. Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) serves as the International Secretariat.
The resolution was agreed upon by the general assembly participants from Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’Ivore, Congo DR, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Togo and Uganda.
The platform of the general assembly was also used to link the FishNet Alliance to Oilwatch Africa (a network of CSOs fighting to end fossil fuels dependency in Africa) with the aim of working together to protect marine ecosystems, and to formalise the organisational structure of the Alliance in Africa.