Local fishers oppose $2.7 billion deal opening Madagascar to Chinese fishing

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Two months ago, a little-known private Malagasy association signed a 10-year, $2.7 billion fishing deal — the largest in the country’s history — with a group of Chinese companies that plans to send 330 fishing vessels to Madagascar.Critics of the deal include the country’s fisheries minister, who said he learned about it in the newspaper; environmental and government watchdog groups; and local fishers, who are already struggling with foreign competition for Madagascar’s dwindling marine stocks.Critics say no draft of the deal has been made public and the association that signed it did not conduct an environmental impact assessment or any public consultation.The issue has drawn media attention in the run-up to the presidential election on Wednesday. The incumbent and a leading candidate, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was present at the fisheries deal’s signing, although he later claimed not to be familiar with it. Life on the coast of Madagascar is increasingly precarious. In recent decades, the overexploitation of marine life has made it difficult for hundreds of thousands of small-scale fishers to make a living. So it’s no surprise that they are vocally opposing a new agreement to bring hundreds of additional Chinese vessels into their waters.Two months ago, a little-known and ostensibly private Malagasy association signed a 10-year, $2.7 billion fishing deal — the largest in the country’s history — with a group of Chinese companies that plans to send 330 fishing vessels to Madagascar. Madagascar’s president at the time, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was in the room when the deal was signed in Beijing on Sept. 5, although he later claimed not to be familiar with it. No draft of the deal has been made public, and its opacity has drawn media attention in the run-up to the presidential election on Wednesday. Rajaonarimampianina stepped down as president on Sept. 7, two days after the deal was signed, to comply with Malagasy law that requires a sitting president to leave office 60 days before an election in which he is running. He is a leading candidate in the election.On the Madagascar side, the Agence Malagasy de Développement économique et de Promotion d’entreprises (AMDP) made the deal, which the group says was designed to promote the country’s “blue economy.” It did so without consulting the fisheries ministry, the national environment office, or civil society groups, many of which are now calling for the deal to be scrapped. These critics say the AMDP failed to set up an open bidding process and did not conduct an environmental impact assessment or any public consultation. They also note that there’s limited information on fishing efforts and catches in Madagascar’s waters, so any new projects should be taken on with extreme caution.“I can’t help but wonder how 330 vessels in our coastal zone would contribute to a blue economy. Not everything that happens in the ocean is ‘blue,’” Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, country director for the international NGO World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), wrote in an op-ed in one of Madagascar’s leading newspapers.Activists have started an online petition to revoke the agreement, and some members of the government are equally concerned. Augustin Andriamananoro, the minister of fisheries, went on national television to voice his opposition to the deal, which he said he first read about in a newspaper.“This could bring about discord and, if we are not careful, it will cause our ocean to be overexploited,” he told TV Plus Madagascar on Oct. 5. “Madagascar’s natural resources are in danger, especially the fish. The fishers are shocked and concerned.”A cartoon that ran on the Malagasy news site 2424.mg. The caption reads “Blue Economy = 10-year fishing deal with China.” Image courtesy of 2424.mg.A deal without detailsThe AMDP signed what it describes as a “framework agreement” with a consortium of seven unidentified Chinese companies known as Taihe Century (Beijing) Investment Development Co., Ltd. The AMDP has said in public statements that the agreement will be a boon to the local economy, and said in a press release from Beijing when the deal was signed that it would create 10,000 jobs over the next three years.“As a civil society actor, we heard the needs of traditional fishers,” Hugues Ratsiferana, the AMDP’s CEO, wrote in an email to Mongabay. He said that Malagasy people would operate 300 of the fishing vessels, and that these would all be new, 14-meter (46-foot) vessels with 1,200-kilogram-capacity (2,646-pound) iceboxes. The new equipment will allow Malagasy fishers to modernize and professionalize their fishing practices, he said. The remaining 30 vessels will be 28 meters (92 feet) in length and used for surveillance, rescue and collection of catch.Though there has been a slow trickle of information regarding the deal, the lack of transparency has concerned observers. “The scale of this investment is unprecedented in the island’s history,” reads an Oct. 12 statement on the website of Mihari, a network of locally managed marine associations in Madagascar. “It is a great source of concern for our Network members and the entire fishing industry, especially as we have little information about the content of the agreement or the manner in which it will be implemented.”Last week, AMDP representatives met with civil society groups and explained a bit more about the agreement. The first phase of the project, worth $700 million over three years, will include investments in fishing, aquaculture, shipyards and technical training, according to slides from the AMDP’s presentation. The second phase, worth $2 billion, will include more fishing, an aquaculture “base” and unspecified logistical services.The AMDP representatives did not specify where the vessels would be based, the fishing would be done, or the projects would take place — not even for a planned pilot project. Nor did they present a complete breakdown of how the $2.7 billion would be spent.In an apparent attempt to mollify critics, AMDP representatives said at the meeting that Malagasy people would have first access to the catch and only the surplus would be shipped to China. (It is unclear how Taihe would make money by selling the fish in Madagascar, a low-income country, and Ratsiferana did not reply to a question from Mongabay on this subject.) They also said that each individual project within the framework agreement would be subject to an environmental impact assessment.However, civil society groups are still not satisfied that the deal was made in a fair and transparent manner. “The AMDP failed to answer our most important questions,” Frédéric Lesné, head of advocacy at Transparency International (TI) – Madagascar Initiative, told Mongabay after attending the meeting.On Friday, TI and other civil society groups announced their ongoing opposition to the deal, saying the AMDP had no experience in the fisheries sector, had refused to disclose information about Taihe, and had not made any social or environmental impact studies public.The AMDP’s Ratsiferana told Mongabay that critical civil society groups had shown “great naïveté” and that opposition to the deal was politically motivated. “During the electoral period in Madagascar, the [online petition] signatories, and first and foremost Transparency International (TI), were manipulated by interests and political issues that go beyond them,” Ratsiferana told Mongabay, referring to the upcoming presidential elections. (TI declined to respond to this claim, saying it had no basis in fact.)Fishermen in southwestern Madagascar carry a pirogue to the sea. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.What is the AMDP?Critics of the deal have also expressed concern about the AMDP’s unusual structure and unclear relationship to the Madagascar government and to then-president and current candidate Rajaonarimampianina.As president, Rajaonarimampianina officially launched the AMDP at the headquarters of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie in Paris in September 2016. Soon after, Madagascar hosted an international francophone summit, where the AMDP acted on behalf of the government to facilitate economic partnerships with other French-speaking countries. The group’s name, which identifies it as an “agency,” also implies that it is a government body.In the AMDP’s press release from Beijing in September, Rajaonarimampianina voiced his support for the fisheries deal — “the new silk roads run through Madagascar!” he said — and was one of a handful of people in the room when the deal was signed. The AMDP attached a photograph of the hand-shaking scene to the release, and Rajaonarimampianina can be seen at the back, in the middle.When questioned about the deal by Radio France Internationale (RFI), Rajaonarimampianina claimed not to know about it.Rajaonarimampianina has another tie to the AMDP: His son, Lovatiana Mickaël Rakotoarimanana, was on the AMDP’s board of directors when it was founded in 2016. (In an email to Mongabay, the AMDP’s Ratsiferana said Rakotoarimanana was no longer on the board.)Despite the AMDP’s work on behalf of the government and connections to the presidency, Ratsiferana said it was a “private association” and thus had no legal obligation to release a copy of the fisheries deal to the public.“[N]ot being a state-to-state agreement, but a protocol between private sectors and companies, we are bound to an obligation of confidentiality and private business secrecy,” Ratsiferana told Mongabay. “Have you ever seen in the press a publication of the agreement between Exxon and Aramco in the oil sector?” (Aramco, a state-owned oil company in Saudi Arabia, is notorious for its opacity.)But without a governmental mandate, it’s unclear how a private association like the AMDP could sign a deal of this scope, which will require, at the very least, a series of permits from the national environment office and licenses from the fisheries ministry. In response to a question regarding the AMDP’s authority to make such a sweeping international deal, Ratsiferana said, “The reality on the ground confirms a socio-economic backwardness in Madagascar and the need of the Malagasy population is clear: a better life. The AMDP is responding to this need.”The deal has drawn a lot of attention in local media and on social-media platforms, with many observers assuming corruption was a factor, or that the AMDP sold access to the president’s office. However, there is no direct evidence for either of these claims, and the AMDP has vigorously denied them. “I have not touched a single dollar,” Ratsiferana told RFI. “Neither me, nor the AMDP, nor Hery Rajaonarimampianina. I give you my word.”The president’s office, occupied in the interim by Rivo Rakotovao, a Rajaonarimampianina ally, declined to comment for this article. The AMDP declined to provide contact information for Taihe, and Mongabay was unable to reach the Beijing-based company, which has no online presence.Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who is running for reelection in this week’s presidential elections in Madagascar, spoke in London in 2015. Image courtesy of Chatham House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).Foreign pressure on local fisheriesGlobally, China has the world’s largest fishing fleet. Chinese fishing companies, heavily subsidized by the government, have developed a reputation for overexploiting stocks and signing deals that lack transparency, or just not signing them at all. The vast majority of fishing by Chinese vessels goes unreported, amounting to about 2.5 million tons of catch per year around Africa alone, according to a 2012 European Union report.The Chinese fishing industry already had a presence in Madagascar prior to the signing of the agreement with the AMDP. Six Chinese vessels have been trawling for demersal and pelagic fish off southwest Madagascar since October 2017, according to the fisheries ministry. Small-scale fishers in the area say they feel the impact of the trawling on their catches, even from this relatively small fleet.“We mustn’t forget that with the arrival of just six industrial fishing boats in the Toliara region this year, some communities are already struggling to make ends meet,” Hermany Emoantra, a small-scale fisher in southwest Madagascar and Mihari’s president, said in the group’s statement. “So, imagine what could happen with 330 boats — how will these people live, where will they go?”Officially, these six are the only Chinese vessels working Madagascar’s waters, but the real number is believed to be much higher. Reports in the news and from local observers indicate that a large number of Chinese ships are working there illegally, sometimes using highly destructive fishing methods and strong-arm tactics to muscle local fishers off the water.But Madagascar’s small-scale fishers also face competition beyond the Chinese, for example from domestic and foreign industrial shrimp trawling and long-line tuna fishing by vessels from South Korea, Seychelles and Europe.Indeed, civil society groups are closely scrutinizing renegotiations of an EU fishing deal with Madagascar, which is due to expire at the end of the year. Fisheries experts have criticized past deals for prioritizing the profits of private EU companies over the interests of Malagasy people, and for lacking transparency. Late last month, Mihari and TI sent an open letter to both the Madagascar fisheries ministry and the EU asking for greater transparency and more cooperation with civil society groups during this round of negotiations.The fisheries deals with both the Europeans and the Chinese will be subject to at least an implicit approval by an incoming administration, which could quash them by denying foreign companies the necessary permits or licenses. So for Malagasy fishers, as for other sectors of society, much will depend on the results of the presidential election.A fishing boat in the town of Beheloke in southwestern Madagascar. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.Banner image: A fishing boat in the town of Beheloke in southwestern Madagascar. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Rebecca Kesslercenter_img Biodiversity Hotspots, Conservation, Conservation And Poverty, Corporate Responsibility, Corporations, Developing Countries, Environment, Environmental Economics, Finance, Fish, Fishing, Governance, Green, Marine Animals, Marine Conservation, Marine Ecosystems, Oceans, Poverty last_img read more

Consequential orders are clear

first_imgThe Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday handed down consequential orders stipulating that the Cabinet must resign and call fresh elections within three months of its June 18, 2019 ruling that the No-Confidence Motion, brought by the Leader of the Opposition against APNU/AFC Government, was validly passed.While the Court stayed away from setting specific dates, President Justice Adrian Saunders emphasised that the key players, such as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the President, and by extension the Government, are obligated to “exercise their responsibilities with integrity”. In its ruling, the CCJ made it clear that since the passage of the No-Confidence Motion against the Government on December 21, 2018, the Government should have complied with the provisions of the Constitution, i.e., to resign and call elections. This meant that general elections should have already been held by March 21, 2019; unless there was an extension by two-thirds of the elected members of the National Assembly.As was stated by Justice Saunders— and we repeat for emphasis sake— the Constitution is clear as to the actions that must be followed after a no-confidence vote. Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence”.With the Government’s defeat, the next steps in Clause 7 of Article 106 goes on to state that “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by no less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election”.It is well known that the Government did not follow these provisions. Instead, there were a series of actions in the Courts which brought the matters surrounding the NCM to a pause. However, Justice Saunders made it clear that this was no longer the case as of June 18, 2019 – when the CCJ declared that the No-Confidence Motion was indeed validly passed. From that period, according to the CCJ, “the tenure of Government in office is on a different footing”, meaning by convention, the Government is expected to behave as a “caretaker”.However, over the past few weeks, we have seen the Government in full defiant mode. For example, the Minister of Finance is pushing ahead with planning the next national budget, ministers are signing major contracts/ agreements, ministers are proposing to amend and introduce new legislation and a host of other acts which are outside of the normal practices of a Government which should have been in a “caretaker” mode.Certainly, the status quo cannot remain as per normal and the business of the Government cannot continue as if nothing happened. The fact remains that the Government was defeated in a confidence vote and, therefore, does not have the same power it enjoyed prior to the vote being passed. If it wants to carry on as a full-fledged Government, it must get a renewed mandate from the electorate.So far, the nation has witnessed several attempts by the Government to delay going to the polls. No doubt, in its fight to hold firm to political power, the APNU/AFC coalition has lost credibility and support.We also have taken note of the APNU/AFC officials and the Government-nominated GECOM Commissioners advancing their case for House-to-House registration in order to arrive at a new voters list. This, we are convinced, is unnecessary at this point in time. As stated by many stakeholders, there are certain steps that could be taken to cleanse the list, i.e., to ensure that those who have died or migrated are taken off the list and those who would have reached the age to vote are registered and allowed to vote. This could be done within the shortest possible time which would then allow GECOM to be in a position to run-off elections within three months.We have also taken note of the attempts by certain individuals to frustrate the process to name a GECOM Chairperson. What could have been a simple, straightforward process to bring the matter to finalisation is now being dragged out unnecessarily.We believe that in order to find a solution to the current political crisis, there is need for a great deal of maturity from our political leaders, starting with the leader of the APNU/AFC coalition, David Granger, to abide by the Constitution which he swore to uphold when he took the reins of power back in March 2015.The CCJ rulings and subsequent consequential orders are clear. It is now up to the key players, mainly the Government, to show that they are serious about abiding the Court’s ruling and the Constitution in general.last_img read more

Referee apologises for red card confusion

first_img Referee Neil Swarbrick mistakenly sends off West Brom defender Gareth McAuley Referee Neil Swarbrick has apologised for his blunder which saw West Brom defender Gareth McAuley mistakenly sent off in the Baggies’ 3-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.The Northern Ireland defender was sent off with just two minutes into the game after Wilfried Bony was impeded when advancing towards goal, however, video replays showed it was actually team-mate Craig Dawson who committed the foul on the Ivory Coast striker.Baggies manager Tony Pulis was fuming with the decision following the match, saying: “The inconsistency [from referees] is concerning. How in God’s name he sends off the wrong person is just beyond me.“It really killed the game and I was just thinking about the 30,000 people who have spent good money to come and watch a spectacle, only for it to be all over within two minutes.”And Swarbrick has now admitted to his error in a statement from Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, the organisation responsible for refereeing appointments.The statement read: “In the second minute of Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, referee Neil Swarbrick made a decision to send off Gareth McAuley for a ‘denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity’ offence.“The referee has confirmed the offence was caused by a different player, which should be addressed now as a case of mistaken identity. The referee has apologised for his error.” 1last_img read more