Sunday, 16 January 2022

A lawyer and Blue Colonialism.

The article below appeared on the French Fisheries and Development Initiative web site - the Blue Economy is all about who 'owns' the seas - not necessarily a good thing for the fishing industry - anywhere.


Nathalie Ros is a lawyer, professor at the University of Tours (IRJI); she is Vice-President and Secretary General of the International Association for the Law of the Sea. In the context of the conference on the oceans to be held in Brest on February 11 and 12, her reflections allow us to measure the stakes of this meeting especially for fishermen.

In several recent articles, notably in the journal Neptunus [ 1 ] , she has developed analyses and concepts which support our own reflections. She thus denounces the privatisation of the oceans in various forms such as transferable quotas, but also the seizure of marine spaces by multinationals in the name of Blue Growth, or the creation of large MPAs banned from fishing in the name of conservation. All this is being done at the expense of fishing: " the fishing sector, perceived as an obstacle if not a competitor by the new marine industries, is too often seen today as a scapegoat, in defiance of the efforts made by some and reduced to nothing by others [ 2 ] " . At the same time: "Private actors, often foreigners, can thus benefit from exclusive rights over large parts of the national maritime space, in addition sometimes located very offshore".

For Nathalie Ros: "The approach can then fall under blue colonialism, when the sharing of space takes place systematically to the detriment of local populations, in favor of foreign industries" [ 3 ] . This blue colonialism is promoted by large Anglo-Saxon environmentalist NGOs that we denounce for a long time: “Proclaiming themselves to be representative of civil society and public opinion, which they actually manipulate all the more easily via new means of communication. , it is not neutral that most of these environmental NGOs plead almost exclusively in favor of a no-take MPA design prohibiting all fishing activities but not necessarily other industrial uses of the sea.

By virtue of their conservationist philosophy, their mode of financing, as well as their corporate governance which is not representative but cooptative, these NGOs are the spearhead of blue colonialism. Beyond their involvement in the creation of MPAs, they are indeed the actors of a real private environmental governance of the oceans, as direct or indirect manager of MPAs.

Blue colonialism is not state colonialism; it is ecocolonialism: conservationism in the service of tourism and access to mineral resources ”. And it ends thus:"The conclusion is therefore clear: there is no blue justice in particular for the poorest and the most dependent on the ocean who are often already the most vulnerable populations" .

Such an analysis joins that of Catherine Le Gall in "The oceanic imposture" [ 4 ] , itself confirmed by AndrĂ© Standing in an argued article [ 5 ] . “The new generation of conservation leaders come from the financial and consulting communities, where the ideals of democracy and deliberation are counterintuitive. Their universe is characterised by speed and the desire to triumph, and its values ​​are concealment, cunning and competition ”. There was a time when when we developed these theses, we were accused of conspiracy. Today there are enough arguments validated by surveys and academic analyses to dispel these denials. But it will undoubtedly still take time to counterbalance the media, political and financial power of the lobbies which plan to exclude fishermen. Should we console ourselves with the reflection of Anatole France? : “As we get older, we realise that the rarest courage is that of thinking”.

Thursday, January 13, 2022, by LE SANN Alain Fisheries and Development Bulletin n ° 196, January 2022 | Marine Protected Area Maritime law Blue Economy ENGO 

Courtesy of the Fisheries and Development Collective Fish for a living - click here for links to [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] references in the article (use Google translate)