Global fish trade and the impact on developing countries
By Amelia Hapsari
Three years after visiting Balobaloang, the filmmaker had the chance to do a radio report on fish consumption in Hong Kong. The WWF in Hong Kong launched a Seafood Initiative in 2007 to educate consumers in Hong Kong that fish stocks have been diminishing at an unprecedented rate in human history. Along with Japan, Singapore, and China, Hong Kong people rated as top fish consumers in Asia (while Japan, U.S. and EU are still top fish consumers of the world).
WWF Hongkong noted that after fish stocks in Hong Kong waters had been depleted, Hong Kong simply brought their seafood supply from other countries, like China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Free trade, as the backbone of Hong Kong economic development and existence, has left the consumers to forget that the seemingly abundance of fish in the market came with a severe environmental price. Customers would not notice that fish from one region has gone extinct because there would be fish from another part of the globe that feed their demands. The consumption would not stop, the economy kept expanding, but the ocean empty.
The ones who paid the most price were those whose lives dependent on fishing. Traditional fishermen like those from Balobaloang did not have sufficient equipment nor training to produce export quantity marine products. When fish stocks disappear from their waters, all they could do was to fish further, or to simply survive with what was left in the ocean. They did not have enough education to find other jobs.
FAO report on State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2004 pointed out that 200 million people in the world rely on fishing and fish farming activities. 38 million of them are full time fishers. They are the ones that are hit the most by the disappearing global fish stocks.
See article on Global Fish Trade and the Environment
Also in this section:
A Nation in Search of Democracy
Destructive Fishing Practices and Indonesian Law
Local Autonomy and the Dilemma
Global Trade and the Impact on Developing Countries
Problems in Indonesian Marine Security