Ocean Grabbing

The term ‘ocean grabbing’ aims to cast new light on important processes and dynamics that are negatively affecting the people and communities whose way of life, cultural identity and livelihoods depend on their involvement in small-scale fishing and closely related activities. We are witnessing a major process of enclosure of the world’s oceans and fisheries resources, including marine, coastal and inland fisheries. Ocean grabbing is occurring mainly through policies, laws, and practices that are (re) defining and (re)allocating access, use and control of fisheries resources away from small-scale fishers and their communities, and often with little concern for the adverse environmental consequences. Ocean grabbing thus means the capturing of control by powerful economic actors of crucial decision-making around fisheries, including the power to decide how and for what purposes marine resources are used, conserved and managed now and in the future. As a result, these powerful actors, whose main concern is making profit, are steadily gaining control of both the fisheries’ resources and the benefits of their use.