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• 20•11•2002 •

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The CGIAR centre, ICLARM, has relaunched itself as the World Fish Center at an international Summit "Fish for All" in Penang, Malaysia.

Fish for All & Forever

Penang, 3 November 2002

Statement by Patrick Mulvany, ITDG

ITDG thanks the organisers of this Summit for inviting us. Also, we appreciate the dedication of everyone here in the hall to the goals of "fish for all and forever".

Chair: I thank you for an opportunity to make a brief comment.

ITDG is proud to have had many decades of work with fisherfolk around the world and especially to have known and worked with Dr John Kurien and the fisherfolk of south India, whose efforts to restore the marine biodiversity of their seas, we salute.

The issues seem to be clear as many speakers have already described and will say:

Developed (northern) food and fishing industry's dominance of global fisheries and aquaculture will increase:

  • Unjust fisheries agreements with southern developing countries proliferate with huge impacts on common property resources e.g. Chile, W Africa.
  • Massive subsidies to northern fishing fleets and fishing effort, often hidden by reflagging of Northern fishing boats to developing country fleets.
  • Increase resources flow from low-value fishmeal to high value fish.
  • Capture of common property resources through unjust agreements and aquatic genetic resources captured through patents and other intellectual property rights.
  • Increased effort to produce transgenic fish, controlled by corporations.


  • Hundreds of millions of livelihoods of coastal fisherfolk are threatened.
  • Loss of control of aquatic resources by communities and countries.
  • Hastened ecosystem collapse through the additional threat of rapid and uncontrollable spread of transgenes and GMOs in aquatic ecosystems.

Propositions of the June 2002 Forum for Food Sovereignty held in parallel with the World Food Summit: five years later

  • Review all fisheries agreements and assess them for their livelihoods and biodiversity impacts: end the rape of the seas by industrial fisheries.
  • Ban all releases of aquatic GMOs and reject patents and IPRs on aquatic genetic resources. This technology and these IPR systems threaten production, livelihoods, biodiversity and genetic integrity.
  • Increase research into, and practice of, sustainable productive ecosystems at watershed, inland waters and marine levels - a priority role for the CGIAR and especially ICLARM, which we welcome - and that must be led by fisherfolk, the true guardians of the sea, aquatic biodiversity and coastal resources.

Ian Johnson, Chair of the CGIAR, described Greenpeace's latest media stunt as 'dangerous', putting young lives at risk. Let's ensure that the CGIAR, and ICLARM - The World Fish Center - in particular, also reject danger and find safer ways of conducting their research in the public domain for the public good, including their commitment to practice 'Safe Science' with the fisherfolk of the world:
No GMOs nor IPRs in Aquaculture and Fisheries!