The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, has warned of the threat of ‘ocean-grabbing’ to food security in a special report to the 67th session of the UN General Assembly. In the report he urges world governments and international bodies to halt the depletion of fish stocks and take urgent steps to protect, sustain, and share the benefits of fisheries and marine environments.
‘Ocean-grabbing’, which sees access agreements between major corporations and governments that are often unregulated, ultimately harms small-scale fishers and often allows for incursions into protected waters. According to Mr De Schutter, it can be as serious a threat as land-grabbing. “Without rapid action to claw back waters from unsustainable practices, fisheries will no longer be able to play a critical role in securing the right to food of millions,” he said at the release of the report, “with agricultural systems under increasing pressure, many people are now looking to rivers, lakes and oceans to provide an increasing share of our dietary protein.”