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The impacts of fishing agreements with Chinese investors in Madagascar


Description:

The expansion of industrial capture fisheries leads to new bilateral or multilateral fishing agreements between African countries and foreign investors from countries like China and European Union [1, 2, 3, 4, 6]. In September 2018, at the the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Madagascar has been exposed to a new 10-years of investment agreement with China. The agreement was made between the Malagasy Agency for Economic Development and Promotion of Enterprises, and the Chinese business consortium, Taihe Century Investments Developments Corporation, and presented as part of Madagascar’s blue economy initiative [1].

Both the investment agreement and how it has been made is criticized for their lack of transparency and the local artisanal fisher people have serious concerns about their possible impacts on them and on their marine resources. They claim that they feel threatened by the arrival of massive foreign industrial fisheries, which would gain a lot but not contribute to the local economy. Even though the government (AMDP) has declared that this agreement would create employment for 10,000 people, local fisher people argue that at the same time it will destroy the existing employment [1, 4, 6]. 

Thus, they do not believe in the return or a fair distribution of the 2,7 billion dollars of investment that has been promised by the Taihe Century Investments Developments Corporation  [1, 4, 6, 8]. Neither it is clearly mentioned how this amount of money will be used. Some explanations include: building fisheries infrastructure, support for fisheries management and the fight against IUU fishing, as well as a bamboo forestation project [4].  (IUU fishing is illegal, unreported fishing). As a result, the Chinese consortium will have the right of deploying up to 330 vessels in Madagascar, even though right now there are only 40-60 boats on the coast of Isla grande which already struggle to capture in the current context of declining marine resources [1, 4, 6].

"A representative of the artisanal fishing sector emphasized that 'the state is robbing coastal fishermen of their livelihood' [4]. They are also concerned that the short-term jobs promised only form 3% of the number of 100,000 artisanal fishers who live depending on these fisheries resources and already having difficulties in making ends meet. They argue that such an investment and fishing model will create unemployment, insecurity and increased risk of conflict between communities. Depending on the type of boats that come, they fear  degradation of habitats and overfishing and claim that they also lack resources for monitoring with only one or two operational coast guard boats. They are concerned with the possibility of this agreement benefiting only " a handful of people, with corruption jeopardizing the future of entire fishing communities". [4]

News of the investment agreement caused concerns and protests among fishing folks in Madagascar. Small-scale fisher people in Madagascar point out that most of the commercial fish stocks have been already heavily exploited (either fully exploited  or overexploited) not only by local small-scale fishers but also by foreign semi-industrial and industrial trawlers [4, 5]. This already had led to several conflicts between local artisanal fisheries and foreign owned trawlers (and commercial prawn farms), which might get even more intense as a result of such agreements.

Instead, small-scale fisher people demand their rights to use marine resources and their protection with marine reserves, which would also separate the fishing zones for industrial fishing vessels and small-scale fishing. fisher organizations, the MIHARY network composed of 23 NGOs and civil society organizations like Transparency International initiative Madagascar organizing meetings and petitions and struggle to protect small-scale fishers' rights and improve their working conditions in Madagascar [6, 10].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:The impacts of fishing agreements with Chinese investors in Madagascar
Country:Madagascar

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities:Fish

Project Details and Actors

Project details

In September 2018, at the the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the president of Madagascar agreed wih a new 10-years of fishing investment with China. The agreement was made between the Malagasy Agency for Economic Development and Promotion of Enterprises, and the Chinese business consortium, Taihe Century Investments Developments Corporation, and has been presented as part of Madagascar’s blue economy initiative [1, 4].

The agreement points out to an investment of 2,7 billard dollars of investment that has been promised by the Taihe Century Investments Developments Corporation. As a result, the Chinese consortium will have the right of deploying up to 330 vessels in Madagascar. [1, 4, 6, 8]

Level of Investment:2,700,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:500,000-1,000,000
Start of the conflict:05/09/2018
Company names or state enterprises:Taihe Century Investments Developments Corporation
Relevant government actors:L’Agence Malagasy de Développement Economique et de Promotion des Entreprises (Malagasy Agency for Economic Development-AMDP)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:MIHARY network: https://mihari-network.org/, https://www.facebook.com/miharinetwork/;
Transparency International initiative Madagascar:
https://transparency.mg/menace-sur-l-economie-bleue-a-madagascar
Fishers' organizations

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsCollapse of fish stocks
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsLoss of small-scale fishing sector and food sovereignty

Outcome

Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:Local fisher people ask both for the protection of their marine resources and for their rights to use these resources. They do not want to allow the increase of the fishing fleet and captures with the arrival of Chinese vessels, which might lead to the collapse of fish stocks.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The new fishing agreement between Madagascar and China has already a lack of transparency, which might lead to a high level of corruption as well as the grabbing of marine resources from local small-scale fisher people to foreign Chinese investors with a big industrial fishing fleet.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Acuerdo de Colaboración Sostenible en el Sector Pesquero entre UE y Madagascar [3]
https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/international/agreements/madagascar_es

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Fisheries in the ESA-IO Region: Profile and Trends (FAO 2014, Country Review, Smartfish Programme) [5]
http://www.fao.org/3/a-br796e.pdf

Un acuerdo entre Madagascar y China incluirá la llegada de 330 buques a la costa africana (Europa Azul, 23.09.2018) [2]
http://europa-azul.es/acuerdo-madagascar-y-china/

Madagascar gives 10 year fisheries agreement to Chinese consortium (Andre Standing, CAPE-CFFA, 22.09.2018) [4]
https://cape-cffa.squarespace.com/new-blog/2018/9/22/madagascar-gives-10-year-fisheries-agreement-to-chinese-consortium

Polémique due to a new fishing agreement in Madagascar (RFI Afrique, 08.10.2018) [1]
http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20181008-madagascar-polemique-autour-nouvel-accord-peche

Concerns soar over Sustainability of Madagascar-Chinese Fisheries Deal (MIHARY, 12.10.2018) [9]
https://mihari-network.org/news/concerns-soar-over-sustainability-of-madagascar-chinese-fisheries-deal/

Avaaz petition to cancel the agreement between madagascar and China [10]
https://secure.avaaz.org/fr/petition/Le_gouvernement_Malgache_le_gouvernement_Chinois_Madagascar_Revoquer_laccord_de_peche_avec_la_Chine/?ftIoxnb

Madagascar Agrees To A 10 Year Fisheries Agreement With Chinese Consortium (Stop Illegal Fishing, 22.09.2018) [7]
https://stopillegalfishing.com/press-links/madagascar-agrees-to-a-10-year-fisheries-agreement-with-chinese-consortium/

Economie bleue : Inquiétude des petits pêcheurs face à l’entrée en force des Chinois (19.09.2018) [6]
http://www.midi-madagasikara.mg/economie/2018/09/19/economie-bleue-inquietude-des-petits-pecheurs-face-a-lentree-en-force-des-chinois/

Economie bleue: Un investisement de 2,7 milliards USD contrcté avec la Chine (Press release, September 2018) [8]
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/517fe876e4b03c6b86a4b81b/t/5ba60459ec212d69b84249b5/1537606746688/C_Users_beatrice+gorez_AppData_Local_Packages_Microsoft.SkypeApp_kzf8qxf38zg5c_LocalState_a37fba47-fd53-44da-a5d7-658a1639a815.jpg

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video of AMDP on Blue Economy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqyY0MDZ_rE&feature=youtu.be

Meta information

Contributor:Irmak Ertör, ENVJUSTICE Project, ICTA-UAB
Last update18/08/2019

Images

 

Fishing agreement between Madagascar and China [4]

 

Meeting of the MIHARI network

 

Small-scale fisher people in Madagascar [1]

Small-scale fisher people in Madagascar under threat of opaque fishing agreements with China