“I need advertising,” said Earth

“I need Advertising,” said Earth.
A Call for RFPs by Martha Shaw

Submitted by: Earth Advertising
Categories:Environment, Activism
Posted: Apr 20, 2012 – 05:27 PM EST

NEW YORK, Apr. 20 /CSRwire/ – If Earth had an ad budget, it would hire Earth Advertising, or at least that was my assumption when I invented the agency in 1999, originally eFlicks Media. “Earth needs a good ad agency,” Walter Cronkite had suggested to me back then.

Here on the eve of Earth Day, there is tremendous pressure to share what it’s been like over the past 13 years since Earth Advertising hatched in Soundtrack Studios. It’s been up and down. The fisheries went down, the trash went up. Water down. Temperature up. Species down. Chemicals up.

But, Earth Day is a day of celebration, not mourning. Although not the kind of celebrating we’re used to. Celebrating without plastic balloons, stirrers, straws, cups, bottles, bags, plates, forks, spoons and other harmful substances. We can celebrate by refusing single use disposable plastic on Earth Day. I know I’ve given up all these addictions, including on special occasions. Believe me, I fall off the wagon. But I get right back on. You can even take a pledge. Go to http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/support/pledge/

But I digress. If Earth did have a budget for an ad campaign clearly nobody would ever agree on which agency to hire anyway. And should it be positive or negative?

With the help of Stuart Ross, an advisor to Earth Advertising, we brainstorm the idea via social media. His ideas arrive by simple text, “What if there was an RFP?” I text him back that I love it. “Help Wanted. Mid-sized terrestrial planet seeking immediate advertising support.”

Objective? Long-term sustainable relationship with inhabitants.

Single Most Important Message? Help Wanted.

Most Valuable Available Asset? Unlimited intellectual capital.

Single Most Limiting Factor? Natural resources.

Single Biggest Challenge? Old habits.

Metrics for Success? Cleaner atmosphere. Fresher water. Healthier people. Abundant fisheries. Fertile land. Swimmable oceans. Peaceful co-existence.

As the world turns its attention to Rio+20, the 20-year anniversary of the first global Earth Summit, an RFP from Earth is a novel idea. World leaders need our community’s help right now. They need a collective RFP.

Connect with us on Twitter: @earthadv.

Sylvia Earle and Sam Low Win Cronkite Award as Mission Blue Debuts on Martha’s Vineyard by Martha Shaw

What do Walter Cronkite, Sylvia Earle and Sam Low all have in common? They have mastered the might of media on behalf of the sea.

The 2014 Walter Cronkite Award was bestowed on ocean all-stars Dr. Sylvia Earle and Dr. Sam Low by the MVYLI, Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative, which honors people who create positive social change in the world through the power of media.

Like the award recipients, Walter Cronkite was a champion for the 71 percent of Earth’s surface that is the sea—our omnipotent, astonishing, complex, generous and sorely neglected neighbor who rules our planet and keeps us terrestrials alive. Since the industrial revolution, the ocean has been polluted, and literally put through the meat grinder as never before in its 4 billion year history. Walter stirred the hearts of people, young and old, to take an interest not only in the beauty and bounty of our ocean, but in its health and future. The Walter Cronkite Award recognizes leaders who provide this level of inspiration to today’s youth.

Award recipient Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is a world-famous ocean pioneer and former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who has spent her life exploring the world’s oceans and sharing her boundless curiosity for what lies beneath the surface of sea—once a glass ceiling for women scientists. In 2009, she formed Mission Blue as a collaborative platform to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas large enough to save and restore the “blue heart” of the planet, known as Hope Spots.

“We are at the sweet spot of human history,” said Dr. Earle. “More has been learned about the ocean in the last decade than throughout all of human history. For the first time, we have access to information about our ocean as never before. Now we can actually do something. What will we do with this new knowledge? As a new generation that knows more than anyone has ever known before, what will you do with your future?”

“Walter Cronkite epitomized the spirit of what went up (to space) and what went down (to sea) and as a young scientist that inspired me,” said Earle. “I see his presence is still alive and well on Martha’s Vineyard. I am honored to be receiving this award with Sam Low, who has offered such a boatload of information about the ocean to all of us. I bow low, to Sam Low.”

The co-recipient was Dr. Sam Low, an anthropologist and award-winning storyteller dedicated to island people in their quest to raise awareness of our planet’s fragility, of which islands are most vulnerable. His film, The Navigators—Pathfinders of the Pacific, and recent book,Hawaiki Rising—Hokule’a Nanoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance, tell the story of the Polynesian settlement of the Pacific and ancient mariners who use native intelligence and natural signs to navigate our ocean. Low has both Vineyard and Hawaiian roots, and will join a global voyage in an ancient Polynesian canoe with the Polynesian Voyagers Society to share and celebrate the ancient wisdom of the sea.

Following the awards presentation, young leaders from MVYLI remarked on how the ocean was bringing everyone together, particularly island people, and shared their ideas for creating a more sustainable blue planet.

At sundown, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival set up a big screen on Menemsha Beach to premiere Mission Blue, the remarkable and breathtakingly beautiful documentary about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s life. The film was directed by Vineyard filmmaker Bob Nixon, and Fisher Stevens, who followed Earle with their crew around the world ocean for more than five years. Island residents and summer visitors laid blankets on the sand to be among the first to see the film, before it goes up on NetFlix on Aug. 15.

Native Vineyard fisherman and advocate for sustainable fisheries, Buddy Vanderhoop, shared his admiration for the mission of Dr. Earle and his support for marine protected areas to allow the depleting local fish population to spawn and populate again, and to prevent massive fish factory ships from destroying what is left. Dr. Earle promised to return to Martha’s Vineyard and work together toward this, in light of NOAA’s recent invitation to communities across the nation to nominate national marine sanctuaries.


Saving our Seas: Tapping into the Wisdom of Ocean Elders by Martha Shaw

Saving our Seas – Tapping into the Wisdom of OceanElders
By Martha Shaw, OCEAN TIMES
(New York, NY) – For 10,000 years, the ocean has been the life support system that has generously supplied us with air, food, and shelter in the embrace of a livable climate. In a perfect world, human beings might have fit nicely into the Earth’s ecosystem, in balance with the rest of nature. Over the last half-century however, that’s not been the case. Since the industrial revolution, man’s effect on the ocean has been likened to an invasive species. Man’s greatest predator has quickly become man himself.
As a species, who will save the day?
One thing working against the ocean is that problems are out of sight, out of mind. Its wounds lie beyond and below our line of vision. Many people have never even seen it except on television, in books and movies, on menus, or in pictures on the packaging of ‘seafood.’ Of those who have seen the ocean, most only see a surface that glitters and shines, and splashes upon the shore in a spectacular show of white frill. What most of the population doesn’t see is that our ocean lies unprotected and exposed, subject to looting, polluting and plundering. As a result, we have depleted the ocean’s fish stocks by 90%, clogged it with trash, saturated it with chemicals, cranked up the temperature, and altered the acidity to the point where seawater is dissolving coral, cartilage and bone.
On a positive note, with new technologies and greater knowledge we now know more about the ocean than ever before. With the advent of these new tools, a woman named Gigi Brisson has become determined to make a difference. After an inspiring Mission Blue expedition with oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle in 2010, she decided to start something that would have the potential to reverse the ocean’s steady, if not alarming, decline. She developed a plan for how people of influence could pool their talents and resources in the best interest of the ocean, and founded OceanElders.
OceanElders combines science, business, philanthropy, art and star-power
Launched in 2012 with its first member Dr. Sylvia Earle, OceanElders now includes H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sir Richard Branson, Jackson Browne, James Cameron, Dr. Rita Colwell, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jose Maria Figueres, Graeme Kelleher, Sven Lindblad, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Nainoa Thompson, Ted Turner, Captain Don Walsh, and Neil Young. Founder Gigi Brisson said, “These are people with power, experience, success and connections who are all passionate about the ocean and combining efforts to reverse its declining health. The plan is to grow over time and include individuals from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Central and South America.”
The hope is that the OceanElders can get things done together while everyone else is still talking about it, according to Dr. Sylvia Earle. “We used to think that the ocean was too big to fail. Now we’ve learned that it can. We are in a narrow window of human history when we have the knowledge and the technology to tackle these problems — just in time. It’s urgent. The next ten years can be the most important of the next 10,000.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGQJN0hgokg&feature=youtu.be


When asked about being an Ocean Elder, Ted Turner said, “OceanElders are older and supposedly wiser people trying to concentrate on solving the problems of the ocean.” Graeme Kelleher said, “It’s a group of people dedicated to saving the world ocean and the entire biosphere, including humanity. Sven Lindblad described the group as an aggregation of diverse influential voices that can collectively help shape ocean policy. Science advisor Dr. Greg Stone said, “It’s a committed group of people effecting change.” One of the earliest and oldest OceanElders, Captain Don Walsh described the group simply as people who can pick up the phone and do something, or stop something, as the case may be. There are rumors that more star power that can do just that will be added soon.
To date, OceanElders has been effective by partnering with global organizations to support ocean protection in the form of appearances, videos, Op-Eds and letters, including a letter to President Putin in support of Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The Time is Now, OceanElders Summit 2014
OceanElders (OE) held a summit entitled The Time is Now on the eve of Climate Week 2014 in New York City. Colleagues, who shared the OE mission, gathered to meet one another with the intent to share wisdom and experience, explore new ideas and incite successful collaborations.
Speakers at the event emphasized the need to work together for a new global architecture for the high seas, the half of the world that is beyond national jurisdiction and lies unprotected. Trevor Manuel of the Global Ocean Commission and Dr. Sylvia Earle presented a poster to Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, reading “257,000 people from 111 countries want a new agreement for high seas protection.”
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said, “There cannot be social economic development without resilient and productive oceans.” The Prince went on to say, “The Earth’s marine environment provides humanity with a number of important services ranging from the air we breathe, to food security and storm protection. These in turn underpin lives and livelihoods around the globe.”
In reference to one of the biggest problems that plagues the ocean, IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing), Under Secretary of State, Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, Catherine A. Novelli said, “It is only fair that we both level the playing field for honest fishermen and do everything we can to manage fisheries around the globe in a sustainable way.”
Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. shared the wisdom of his island’s ancient tradition of “bul,” which places a moratorium on fishing in order to replenish those stocks and maintain balance. In this tradition he has declared his country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as a marine sanctuary, the first of its kind in the world. “We are on the brink when this free-for-all is coming to an end,” he said.
The event concluded with a brilliant performance by celebrated artist Norah Jones. Dozens of attendees then gathered at a nearby establishment to further the discussion.
Join the discussion
OceanElders invites everyone to join in the discussion athttp://community.oceanelders.org/forums/135006-discuss-your-ideas


Ocean all-stars make a splash in Monaco at BLUE Ocean Film Festival

Monaco and Tampa Bay set the stage for ocean film and entertainment


Video Link: HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco Attends the BLUE Ocean Mini-Fest. (VIDEO)


(Monaco) Oct 6  – If necessity is the mother of invention, then the pressing needs of our ocean explain the spawning of innovation at BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit (BLUE). This annual multi-disciplinary summit is a convergence of bright minds with big hearts focused on expediting ocean conservation – now when it’s needed most.


BLUE – a watering hole for ocean aficionados


BLUE sets in motion a mix of ocean all-stars mobilized by a supportive environment of breathtaking (and sometimes gut-wrenching) films, creative ideas and new technology.


Inventors, leaders, filmmakers, explorers, producers, artists, scientists, and celebrities gather to see what’s new and share thoughts on how to amplify the voice of the ocean. BLUE has created an ecosystem of diverse intelligence with one mission – to use the power of entertainment to educate and inspire ocean stewardship.


Chief executive and visionary, Deborah Kinder co-created BLUE’s platform for showcasing exceptional achievement in the ocean world, which is now acting as a springboard for rapid collaboration across cultures and disciplines in the interest of a healthy ocean. Ms. Kinder explained that working for a healthy ocean is in our own best interest. “I learned that ocean issues urgently need our attention and not just for the well being of future generations, but for the health of our own children. If humanity’s life support system is lost, little else matters.  I believe film and entertainment are the most powerful tools we have for reaching a large number ofpeople in a short amount of time, hopefully before our only choice is crisis management,” she said.


Like our fellow species in the sea, we are interconnected and our web of life is fragile and interdependent. BLUE takes lessons from nature to help build its ecology of ocean professionals working together to protect the planet’s blue heart, on which life on Earth is dependent.


Mini-BLUE in Monaco


A one-day version of its larger week long BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit, a mini-BLUE was held at the world-renowned Oceanographic Museum of Monaco last week, where BLUE’s new partnership with the Museum and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation was launched. Long standing defender of protective ocean policy, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco endorsed BLUE’s mission to use the power of film, photography, entertainment and science to educate, empower and inspire ocean stewardship across the globe. “This is as much a moral duty as a vital necessity, because the risks hanging over the oceans are today so pressing,” he said.


The setting was fitting as the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco has played a key role in ocean stewardship since 1906, when it was first conceived of by ocean explorer HSH Prince Albert I. From 1957 to 1988, the Museum thrived under the directorship of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Today the Museum’s Director General, M. Robert Calcagno, is at the helm and joined a panel discussion at the mini-BLUE.


Panel explores the delicate balance of urgency and hope


Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques, moderated BLUE’s panel of ocean luminaries. She asked M. Calcagno to cite an example in history when the ocean won out against all odds. He described the time when the Calypso vessel showed up to protest an international agreement that was about to be signed that would allow mining in Antarctica. “At considerable risk, Jacques managed to get it protected until 2048,” he said.


SE M. Bernard Fautrier, CEO of Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, shared the success story of Reserve Du Larvotto, a marine protected area that could be seen from the terrace and was established in 1976. He described a new collaboration sparked by BLUE with Catlin Seaview Survey. The project is filming this underwater environment in 360 degrees which will not only allow armchair explorers to experience the shoals, but help scientists to benchmark changes over time.


Champion for the ocean and past-director of NOAA, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, was also asked for good news. As an example of hope she referred to 32 fish stocks that have been rebuilt and to the European Union, which has reformed its foreign fishing policy. However, she didn’t want to give the impression that all is well, or necessarily heading in the right direction. “I’ve been fortunate enough to see both the beauty and degradation of the oceans myself,” she said. “There are so many opportunities for government and for businesses to be choosing a more sustainable future – but in many places in the world that’s not the case. All people who make decisions should know the consequences of their actions. Films can inspire them… What we really need is a more cohesive sustained drumbeat of urgency and hope. I’m so excited that BLUE exists to see this on a regular basis. Majesty and magic, but also action.”


The notion that we only protect what we love, and don’t protect what we don’t know about, resonated among the BLUE panelists. M. Didier Noirot, Emmy award-winning cinematographer of BBC/Discovery epic series Planet Earth and Blue Planet, made a case for film as a means for building passion, and for sounding the alarm. “Emotion cannot be shared just by wanting to. Getting close to the subject evokes emotions. Our lenses make it possible to get close to the animals.”


DisneyNature’s founder and general manager, Jean-Francois Camilleri, declared that it is the responsibility of filmmakers to share information and educate. He then compared film to television. “There is less immersion in television than in film. Though there are less people in theaters, films get more media coverage – people find themselves sharing and comparing feelings and emotions. They can launch discussion of a topic that remains the subject of discussion far after the film,” he said.


Manager of Google Ocean Program, Jenifer Austin Foulkes, demonstrated Liquid Galaxy, which uses consumer-contributed, crowd-sourced, mapping to create a dramatic environment in which to explore the blue planet from anywhere. According to Ms. Foulkes, the power of visual imagery put together the right way can make a huge difference, like posting video clips on Google Earth. She gave the example of a view of a turtle near Heron Island that had over a billion media impressions. When features are added to click and donate to a nonprofit that is working on the cause, this has the potential to move people toward action.


Shari Sant Plummer, BLUE advisor and ocean philanthropist, has founded and/or served on dozens of ocean conservation boards including Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue. She offers the scattered ocean community her knack for connecting the dots. On the panel, Ms. Sant Plummer shared an effective use of film to teach locals what is at stake in their own backyards. She pointed out that when a reef system is failing, natives may be the last to know why. Films can change that by motivating artisan fishermen to adopt bans on destructive practices that lead to the collapse of their livelihoods, and their food supply. Efforts like these have resulted in bans on commercial diving for lobsters, while targeted media exposure has helped to ban shark finning in nine countries since the first BLUE Ocean Film Festival in 2009.


In closing remarks, HSH Prince Albert II, who also participated in BLUE 2012 in Monterey, California last year, emphasized both the need to shift global consciousness and the power of BLUE to help do this. “This event uses the power of film, photography, entertainment and science to educate, empower and inspire ocean stewardship around the globe,” he said. “To awaken consciousness toward environmental protection more effectively, our best weapons are those that win over our hearts and minds.”


Within a week of the mini-BLUE in Monaco, cross-pollination of ideas and technology among participants had already helped to expand existing programs and create new ones that bring the beauty and the plight of the ocean to the public in new and engaging ways.


BLUE On Tour impacts millions around the world


Beyond BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summits, ongoing BLUE On Tour reaches hundreds of millions of people around the world through media impressions, outreach, and tailored festivals. The traveling show offers local communities the opportunity to host entertaining and inspiring events that feature winning selections from international film competitions and a chance to meet the filmmakers, and scientists. BLUE On Tour has traveled to China, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the USA, and been covered in over 800 media outlets.

“BLUE On Tour enables groups to host their own customized festival event with selections from BLUE’s extensive film catalog and network of people,” said Charlotte Vick who works with BLUE and is also curator of Explore the Ocean in Google Earth.

The challenge is to help people make a connection between their own health and the health of our ocean, even though the majority of the 7 billion people living on Earth have never seen it – or a living fish. As our population approaches 10 billion in this century, with most growth within 100 miles of the sea, the job of programs like BLUE On Tour to reach out and inspire more people to adopt new habits is critical.  BLUE On Tour benefits by sponsors that support the outreach, and sponsors benefit by the media exposure in a symbiotic relationship.


BLUE to alternate between two bicoastal homes – Monaco and St. Petersburg, Florida


Deborah Kinder announced that BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit will alternate between Monaco and St. Petersburg, Florida beginning in 2014. Given that Monaco is a global nexus for all things ocean under the leadership of its Head of State, and St. Petersburg is a vibrant center for oceanography, the two coastal enclaves are perfect backdrops for BLUE.


“BLUE will showcase on odd years in Monaco beginning in 2015, and in St. Petersburg, Florida on even years beginning next year November 3rd-9th, 2014,” said Ms. Kinder. “I am inspired by these two communities’ level of commitment to the one ocean that connects us all. Our upcoming festivals are going to be amazing gatherings of extraordinary people that you don’t want to miss.”


Find more information at www.blueoceanfilmfestival.org



Deborah Kinder, dk@blueoceanfilmfestival.org


Submitted by Martha Shaw, journalist and founder of Earth Advertising, which supports the growth of sustainable businesses that protect the planet above and below ‘see’ level.



OCEANS’13 to be the largest ocean conference in history… by Martha Shaw


World Ocean Community to Gather at “An Ocean in Common” in San Diego, September 23-26

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 22 /CSRwire/ – More than a dozen professional and academic societies are coming together for OCEANS ’13 MTS/IEEE San Diego, An Ocean in Common. The conference is scheduled for September 23-26 with many side activities taking place before, during and after the event, making it the largest and most comprehensive ocean science and engineering gathering in U.S. history.

The sponsoring societies are the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society (IEEE-OES) and the Marine Technology Society (MTS). Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has been announced as the OCEANS ’13 MTS/IEEE San Diego academic host. Participating societies include: AGU Ocean Sciences (AGU-OS), Acoustical Society of America (ASA), The Oceanography Society (TOS), Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), American Fisheries Society (AFS), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Association of Dive Contractors (ADC), and others.

According to conference chairman Robert Wernli, the world’s leading scientists, engineers and technologists will be attending to participate in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of MTS, the 45th for the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, and the 110th anniversary of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

“Scripps Institution of Oceanography is proud to be academic host of An Ocean in Common,” said Doug Bartlett, a professor of marine microbiology and chair of the Education Department at Scripps. “This historical gathering couldn’t be more timely as Scripps celebrates its 110th anniversary during the conference. Our oceans, 70 percent of Earth’s surface, require our collective intelligence and attention as never before and Scripps is proud to be a collaborator in this vital gathering of scientists, engineers and the community.”

This international conference is a major forum for scientists, engineers, ocean professionals and enthusiasts to gather and exchange their knowledge and ideas. An Ocean in Common features a day of tutorials, multiple tracks of technical sessions, student poster competition, keynote speakers, receptions, public exhibit halls, and a banquet on the USS Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego Bay. In addition, a two-night film festival and weekend golf tourney will kick off the week’s activities. Other side events offered include local diving, and visits to the many attractions that make San Diego one of the world’s most popular destinations.

Today it was announced that a second exhibit hall has been opened, due to popular demand. Information on Registration, Schedule, Call for Papers, Exhibit Space, and updates on the week’s events are posted at http://www.oceans13mtsieeesandiego.org.

Fisheries up for Grabs: Who owns our fish? By Martha Shaw


Out of sight and out of mind, the most valuable fisheries on Earth are up for grabs.

Submitted by:Martha Shaw
Posted: May 09, 2012 – 11:51 AM EST
Tags: fisheries, rio20, united nations, seafood, sustainability

It’s called ABNJ or Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, and makes up 64 percent of the surface of the world’s oceans. Yet, this part of the planet has no protection from the massive destruction by private interest fishing operations. At the United Nations yesterday, a Program on Global Sustainable Fisheries Management and Biodiversity in ABNJ was introduced to protect the biodiversity of this area, which some consider to be the last global “commons” on Earth.

Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

Organized by the Global Ocean Forum, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about 30 experts from those groups as well as UNEP, the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, International Sustainable Seafood Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy gathered to share the details of a new program that will devote $44 million to manage the long-term health of this frontier which is depreciating rapidly. Throughout history, it’s been “every man for himself” out there beyond the watchful eyes of citizens, giving way to total anarchy dominated by highly sophisticated $10 billion dollar/year fishing operations equal to 6.3 million tons caught per year.

While land degradation is visible, ocean degradation is invisible and this makes the task of protecting our high seas particularly challenging, as the area is unmonitored. The effect of loss of biodiversity in the open ocean, however, is very much felt in the decline of fisheries in coastal waters.

In the decade following the adoption of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, fishing on the high seas became a major international problem. The Convention gave all states the freedom to fish without regulations on the high seas, but coastal states, to which the Law of the Sea conferred exclusive economic rights including the right to fish within 200 miles off their shores, began to complain that fleets fishing on the high seas were reducing catches in their domestic waters.

The problem centered on fish populations that “straddle” the boundaries of countries’ 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs), such as cod off Canada’s eastern coast and pollock in the Bering Sea, and highly migratory species like tuna and swordfish, which move between EEZs and the high seas.

Running Low

By the early 1990s, most stocks of commercially valued fish were running low, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). As catches became smaller, coastal states complained that the industrial-scale fishing operations on the high seas were undermining their efforts to conserve and revitalize fish stocks.

There is a history of violence between fishing vessels and coastal states, most notable during the “cod wars” of the 1970s. Several countries, including Britain and Norway, sent naval ships to protect fishing fleets on the high seas. Spanish fishers clashed with British and French drift netters in what came to be known as the “tuna wars.” Before the UN Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks was finalized in October 1995, several coastal states had fired shots at foreign fleets. In the northern Atlantic, Canada seized and confiscated a Spanish boat fishing in international waters just beyond the Canadian 200-mile limit.

The Effect of Fishing on Human Rights

At the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, known as the first Earth Summit, governments called on the United Nations to find ways to conserve fish stocks and prevent international conflicts over fishing on the high seas.

The coastal states most concerned during the negotiations about the impact of high seas fishing on their domestic harvest included Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Iceland and New Zealand. They complained that only six countries were responsible for 90 percent of deep sea fishing: Russia, Japan, Spain, Poland, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan province of China. The United States also caught a significant amount of fish, especially tuna, and China soon became a major fishing nation.

Companies began to use refrigerated factory trawlers or “mother ships” that allowed fleets to travel vast distances from the home country and to stay at sea for longer periods without having to return to shore. This quickly became a human rights issue as these fleets undermined the livelihoods of local fishers, depriving poor people in coastal areas of a primary source of sustenance.

Onwards to Rio+20

On the table for Rio+20 next month, though not without conflict, is an end to government fishing subsidies, considered to be as damaging as fossil fuel subsidies. No agreement has been reached here, nor has a proposed phase-out of all deep-sea bottom-trawl fishing on the high seas by 2015. No deep-sea bottom trawl vessels or fleets have demonstrated that they can fish deep-sea species sustainably and prevent damage to deep-sea ecosystems.

Also at the negotiating table is a call for labeling, and for seafood buyers and retailers to only buy and sell fish from deep-sea fisheries that have clearly demonstrated no harm to deep-sea ecosystems.

Today, as global fish stocks decline, seafood becomes an increasingly expensive item for the rich and a rarity for the poor. With the world population expected to reach 8.2 billion by 2030, the planet will have to feed an additional 1.5 billion people, 90 percent of whom will be living in developing countries many of which depend on local fisheries.

Find out more about GEF/FAO Program on Global Sustainable Fisheries Management and Biodiversity Conservation in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction and other issues on the negotiating table for Rio+20.

- See more at: http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/400-fisheries-up-for-grabs-who-owns-our-fish#sthash.1nmet8qf.dpuf