WORLD FISHERIES DAY Message
WATER-BORDER SAFETY OF FISHER PEOPLE
All over the World Fisher people are facing grave problems due to alleged violations of Water Borders between countries. It is very common in Europe, the Gulf Countries, African & South American Countries. Nowhere in the world are borders clearly earmarked. While there are legal EEZ’s (Exclusive Economic Zones) of 200 nautical miles; there are several countries that do not possess a distance of 400 NM between them. E.G. between India and Sri Lanka.
In South Asia fishers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka face similar problems. The small Fisher People especially are prone to be arrested by the Coast guards and sea-patrols of either county. They face hardships with court cases slapped on them of border violations and intrusion as strangers. The question of them possessing a “Visa” to enter eithers territory does not exist. It is a perennial problem. They in fact land up in the (inhuman) prisons of either country for months or some for years. There are criminal charges filed against Fisher People. For e.g. in one case against Fishers from India being arrested by Pakistan; since the fishermen had kitchen knives on board for their cleaning and cooking of fish these were termed as “instruments of violence”; and they got “booked” under terrorism laws!
Why should these small scale fisher people, fishing for their livelihood, land up in jails? What about the sufferings the families have to undergo? It is a sad fact that consequently wives and children are left to fend for themselves? Is there any humanity left in this World? Is there a way out?
There are many ways to solve these problems if border countries collaborate. We have to get the United Nations (UN) involved in this issue. Since WORLD FISHERIES DAY has become common all over the World, let us start a campaign to have International laws to be enacted. Let us see if we can call it: The Common Peace Area (CPA) law
All waters between any two countries should have a distance of 50 nautical miles declared as a Common Peace Area
This CPA should be ear marked by floats.
In this CPA traditional and small scale fishers of either country should be free to fish.
However these fisher people should be from these border countries only.
There should be “O tolerance” for Industrial fishing vessels with foreign flags and foreign business investors entering the CPA.
There should not be any destructive fishing gear used in this area or anywhere in either country.
If a border country has banned one particular fishing gear the same ban should be enforced in the whole of the CPA.
Those who wish to fish should obtain a NO OBJECTION IDENTITY CARD counter signed by both the respective border countries.
These fisher people should be owner operators.
Each Fishing vessel should carry a CPA flag.
During this year’s World Fisheries Day let us make this a campaign all over the World.
Please circulate these border problems among us and the UN. Let us demand for a CPA Law by the UN.
This Edition circulated among the Apostelship of the Sea Worldwide by Fr.Xavier Pinto, C.Ss.R. National Director , India. <firstname.lastname@example.org> . 21.11.13