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January 2017
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We are currently seeing the development of a set of laws and practices preventing artisanal fishermen and their communities from having rights to fishing stock. The topic of halieutic resources generally provokes little interest when raised in relation to natural resources grabbing, despite the fact that millions of people’s income earning rely on fishing and aquaculture1. In the same way, fishing is vital to ensuring global food security. In many countries, fish is the largest source of high-quality animal protein for people and form an important part of their diet. Witness accounts reveal that the overfishing of sea and rivers is a reality, just like land grabbing. All over the world, fishermen, like farmers, are facing serious threats to their livelihood. Since the mid-1980s, various countries have privatised fishing by implementing quotas for large-scale industrialists. We are seeing fish stock increasingly controlled by a handful of large companies to the detriment of the communities of artisanal fishermen who are much more numerous. In Chile, for example, fishing reforms in 2013 led to 90% of quotas being awarded to just seven families active in the industrial fishing sector. Figures like these reveal the exclusion of thousands of small fishermen, quite simply signalling the end of family and artisanal fisheries.

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The goal of the WFAL 2016 had been to organise a world forum in 2016 to address the major issues linked to unequal access to land, natural resources (see The Call). Finally, the global assembly took place in Valencia, Spain (31st March, 1-2 April 2016) with more than  400 participants from 70 countries from today at the Global Forum on Access to Land and Natural Resources.

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