World Ocean Conference draws activists

By

Neil Ray, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Bangkok

Published on
May 12, 2009

With the World Ocean Conference (WOC) in Manado, Indonesia, now under way, the Manado Alliance is calling on the host nation to clamp down on illegal fishing and condemning conference organizers for failing to put the issue on the agenda.

The group consists of the Peoples Coalition for Equal Fisheries (PCEF), the Center for Ocean Development Institute and the Mining Advocacy Network, among others.

PCEF coordinator Reza Damanik said the conference fails to address rampant illegal fishing as well as illegal dumping of mining waste into the ocean. According to conference organizers, the focus of the WOC is climate change and its effect on the oceans.

The Manado Alliance said it is participating in the WOC and the Coral Triangle Initiative Summit, held concurrently with the WOC, as an observer. (The Coral Triangle encompasses the coral-rich waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.)

However, Indonesian authorities have deported 11 Filipinos protestors from the country because they do not possess permits to stage a rally, which they did on a beach away from the conference venue. Damanik said the protest was peaceful and was held about an hour's drive from the conference venue.

"Coastal communities and fishermen are the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change," said Damanik. "They should be involved in this conference in order to get a better result."

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