Friends of the Earth India – PRESS RELEASE

Day one of the Conference of Ocean People (C-OP) to counter the UNOC 2022.

The Conference of the Ocean People (C-OP) commenced on 26th June 2022 brought forward  the diverse historical claims/testimonies uniting the ocean people for the first time on a global  platform asserting their customary rights over the ocean. It showcased the cultural diversity  within the ocean people as people participated and shared their views from different parts of  the world like South Asia, Africa, South America, Caribbean Islands. Along with hundreds of  people joining from the coastal states in India via community screenings at the ground,  academicians and international media also joined in large numbers. This conference has been  organised to alert the United Nations Ocean Conference, being held between 27 to 1 July 2022  in Lisbon, Portugal, to the possibility of submergence of 50 major coastal cities, globally and  6 cities in India due to the rise in temperature of the ocean because of continued exploitation  of our coastal areas. 

The conference had speakers from all over the world throwing light upon the implications of  Blue Economy, ocean grab policies on the historical customary rights of the ocean people. Eminent scholar and environmental activist Dr.Vandana Shiva said “the challenges that fisher  peoples face in terms of their livelihoods, which they have sustained over millennia, are being  criminalised today. The fish and the fisher are being expected to disappear.” Nadine  Nembhard, General Secretary of World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) added, “We want to  assert our historical and customary rights. We are sustainable fishers and seek to protect our  coastal land for future generations. This conference is a way to challenge historical injustices  faced by the ocean people. This is the way to survive for us”. Jason Jarvis, from Northwest  Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) said, “Fishing isn’t something we do, it is who we are!” 

Esra Dwi from PPNI-Lampung, Indonesia talked about “the shift from catch fisheries to  aquaculture, which has taken away the historical rights of the fishing community”. Leo Colaco,  chairperson of National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) India, released a video on “Let Us Stand up  for Ourselves and Stand Up for Our Oceans” which highlights the struggle of the ocean people  from all over the world. Jones Spartegus, NFF India, said “We are facing #BlueApartheid. In  India, there is corporate loot of the ocean resources through the Blue Economy Policy and the  leasing out of the ocean through Marine Spatial Planning. In the process, the ocean people have  been dispossessed of their homeland, their identities erased, their historical customary rights  subjugated.”