The Global Internship Experience (GIE) in Fisheries Law

The FLC is excited to announce the expansion of the Global Summer Internship Program (GSIP). The FLC’s internship program will now be available to interested students and organizations throughout the year as the Global Internship Experience in Fisheries Law (GIE). The GIE is designed to train students in the area of fisheries and seafood law as well as raise awareness about complex problems facing small-scale fisheries and their livelihood. There is a gap in training and education in fisheries law since this highly specialized topic is not taught at the majority of law schools.

Beruwala Fishery Harbour. Photographer: Hafiz Issadeen.

The FLC is committed to enhancing access to justice to coastal fishing communities and small-scale fisheries. Small-scale fisheries make an important contribution to nutrition, food security, sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation. Despite this significant contribution, the issues constraining the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries remain poorly understood. Students will develop a working knowledge of global small-scale fishery issues and work hands-on in this field. The GIE is designed to further the guidelines set forth by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation; the spirit embodied in these guidelines is the promotion of responsible and sustainable fisheries management.

The GIE will provide interested law students with the opportunity to engage in community-based learning with various universities, NGOs and not-for-profit organizations around the world. Students will collaborate on areas of research relevant to local communities as identified by hosting organizations. Through interaction with researchers, fishermen and leaders in coastal communities, interns will have exposure to a variety of research areas including fisheries management, seafood safety, traceability and labeling. The FLC will provide student interns with guidance throughout the internship. Interns will have the opportunity to write and publish articles on topics of their desire as well as engage and collaborate on one research paper. At the end of the internship, the intern will receive a certificate in Fisheries and Seafood Law.

The FLC will work with students to develop a learning plan that meets the student’s interests and learning goals. The GIE is a community-based learning initiative that is designed for students with a strong interest in environmental law and the work of grass root organizations. Students are encouraged to contact the FLC with proposed internships and learning plans.

Julie Girling – Reforms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy

Julie Girling is the Conservative MEP for South West England and Gibraltar. She currently serves as the European Conservatives and Reformists Group Coordinator for the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and also sits on the Committees on Agriculture and Women’s Rights. In the last parliamentary mandate she also sat on the Committee on Fisheries, and worked on key elements of fisheries and agriculture reform. –

GIRLING_Julie (1)

By Julie Girling

As the post-election dust settles and the MEPs of the 8th Legislature take their seats, it is a good opportunity to reflect on the successes of the last mandate.

I would argue that one of the real success stories of the last mandate was the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. It was almost universally acknowledged that the Common Fisheries Policy had been a disaster, leading to overfishing and unacceptable levels of discards. When “reform” was promised, I think few believed that the EU would really be able to deliver – I admit myself that I was sceptical. With large Member States such as France and Spain having such vested interests in the status quo, it seemed unlikely that any ambitious proposals would succeed.

I am glad to say that my concerns were unfounded. The final deal which was reached after years of intense negotiations between the European Parliament and Council delivered on promises to ban on the wasteful practice of discarding edible fish, to introduce legally binding targets for fishing at sustainable levels, and to ensure greater regional control allowing Member States to choose the measures appropriate to their fisheries. I am proud to say that the quality of the final deal was in no small part due to ambitious demands from myself and like-minded MEPs in the European Parliament, which forced the less ambitious Member States to compromise.

Of course, having set out the aims and targets in the new legislation, the huge task of implementation must be undertaken. The European institutions must be open and flexible in finding ways to make these proposals work; we are asking a lot of the fishing industry and me must be prepared to do our part also.

The financial pillar of CFP reform – the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) – was also agreed during the last mandate, and included similarly ambitious calls for more EU funds to be spent on research and data collection, control and enforcement, and on new equipment and training to enable fishermen to comply with the requirements of the reformed CFP. This agreement was worlds away from the previous fund (the European Fisheries Fund) which allowed for crippling subsidies which only served to contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.

I think that all of those who were involved in such negotiations should be extremely proud, as we have set an example to both policy-makers and citizens that reform is possible. Hopefully such a lesson will inspire the new Parliament and Commission to pursue ambitious and meaningful change across other policy areas.

As the new mandate starts, I wish every success to the new Chairman of the Fisheries Committee, Mr Alain Cadec. I worked closely with Mr Cadec and his office on the EMFF, and despite not always seeing eye-to-eye, we were able to find constructive solutions together. He and his committee will be faced with many challenges. Most notable of these is the so-called “Omnibus” proposal which seeks to make legislative changes to ensure the smooth implementation of the landing obligation from 1 January 2015. Of course, the real benefits of CFP reform will be seen in its implementation, and we need to ensure that the ambitious targets agreed are deliverable; otherwise the agreement on paper means nothing. Therefore this “Omnibus” proposal will be essential in ensuring that from 1 January 2015 the discard ban will be fully applicable across the EU. I shall be following these developments very closely.

Unfortunately, following a post-election “reshuffle”, I shall no longer be serving as a member of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee. However, I will continue to follow all issues affecting South West Fishermen, and take an active role where necessary.

CSF’s: Just for the Developed?

By Tyler Omichinski

Though not a legal issue per se, Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) represent a new and unique business model to develop fisheries. Taking this business model from Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), it rests upon two key concepts:

1)   The subscription business model: this is accomplished through most CSFs requiring individuals to pay up front for the upcoming year. This can be accomplished in multiple ways, however, but commonly requires a payment upfront.

2)   Supporting local fishermen (farmers): where CSAs sought to support local farmers directly, CSFs merely extend this concept into the realm of fishermen.  This is an especially effective concept for marketing as it not only supports a specific individual instead of a shopping mart or similar, it also is regularly used to market the CSF’s catch as being organic/environmentally sustainable.

Photo Source: Globefish - "The CSF Model"
Photo Source: Globefish – “The CSF Model”

We have been working on developing a legal source for CSFs internally, and from this work I have begun to wonder whether the concept can be exported outside of North America and Europe. To date, there have been zero non-developed country CSFs that I have been able to find, and more talk about how it could be exported to the rest of the world than actual success.

CSFs, for better or worse, have tended to rely upon the subscription model with the bulk, or entirety, of the payment up front. This requires there to be sufficient liquid capital in the hands of consumers for this purchase to be made. In areas that are live far more month-to-month, this lump sum represents an insurmountable problem. Though it is possible for this to be addressed through alternative payment schemes and the like, it remains a problem of economics and an inability to pay.

In addition, there are problems regarding shifting the burden of risk to those who lack of the financial reserves that many of us in the developed world have. Specifically, the CSF model shifts the financial risk from the fisherman to the consumer. Within a predictable legal system that is relatively accessible to the common person, the shifting of a burden of risk is relatively small. Though social norms can also manage this problem, there may be concerns about giving away finances prior to receiving a good or service. Enforcing subscription contracts of this type have only recently become widely successful around the developed world, reflecting changing attitudes towards this type of system.

The other key aspect is the support of local fishermen. The CSF system, from an economic perspective, utilizes this as, essentially, a luxury good.[1] This type of luxury may not only be of limited interest to developing countries and communities, it may already be the way of life. Many small communities, particularly in areas like the South China Sea and coastal Africa, often have the locals doing much of the fishing to support the local area. In addition, individuals often rely upon fish stocks as an ad hoc social safety net when finances or food is scarce. Supporting local fishers, as a result, is a luxury good that may be without a market there.

As a result, the situation for CSFs to be exported outside of the Developed World does not look good. From a legal standpoint, the systems might not exist to fully export these. Nevertheless, the business model is not a piece of technology that can necessarily be exported abroad without a full appreciation of the situation on the ground, likely requiring a fully holistic understanding and appreciation of the situation on the ground.

[1] Note, this is not to say that it is not a moral good, merely from an economics perspective this is a luxury good.

Kudankulam Nuclear Plant: Potential Danger to Marine Life

It’s Development v. Environmental Gain.

By Sukanya Thapliyal

Photograph source:
Photograph source:

One of the negative consequences of the technological and industrial revolution that has become more and more evident with time, is its potential to harm our environment if not in safe hands. Although a friendly relationship between these two can exist. Factually speaking the fault does not lie with the scientific developments taking place all around the world but with the sense of values in the contemporary world that ignores the rights of others and is oblivious of the longer perspective.[1]

The energy crisis is all over the world and the time has come when humans have to look for alternative sources of energy as soon as possible. In this context, nuclear power can really solve numerous problems as it is clean, safe, reliable, competitive and capable of replacing significant parts of fossil fuels like charcoal, gas, oil etc. But this so called nuclear power that is being seen as a solution comes with immense responsibilities and duties that are unfortunately overlooked. The unfortunate events that occurred at Three Miles Island Power Plant USA, Chernobyl, Ukraine, Fukoshima Japan and Union Carbide, India are few of the examples where nature paid a huge price for insensitivity and recklessness on the part of mankind.[2]


India is currently handling 20 nuclear power plants in different parts of the country. Basically in India, the constituent assembly discussed the formal legal framework in order to regulate atomic energy in the year 1948 and a legislation named as the Atomic Energy Act 1948 was enacted. This act paved way for the creation of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Department Of Atomic Energy (DAE) in 1954. The AEC is the  apex body in the sector that provides directions over the policies created and reports to the Prime Minister Of India from time to time with regard to such policies. DEC on the other hand deals with the implementation of such policies. The Atomic Energy Act went through several amendments from time to time and several new provisions regarding safety and proper regulations were added.[3]

Our major concern and point of discussion is the Nuclear Power Plant that has been set up by the Indian Government at the south eastern tip of India at Kudankulam in the state of Tamil Nadu and its possibility of creating havoc for marine life and people residing and dependent on seafood for their survival.[4]

This Nuclear Power Plant has been opposed from the very beginning. The reason being its location near a biosphere reserve and the potential of this nuclear plant to cause damage to a very large extent. There have been a large number of questions posed by the environmentalists, native people and fisherman whose livelihood is very much dependent on the health of such areas. There are serious allegations questioning the environmental clearances from MOEF (Ministry of Environment And Forests) and TNPCB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board) and unrestricted exemptions in several crucial issues.[5] Other than this there are questions regarding the liability in case such damage occurs and dumping of nuclear waste created in the process.[6]


Ever since this nuclear plant has come into emergence, it has been surrounded by numerous controversies and protests from the native people. The construction of this nuclear project and the subsequent working has been actively opposed by People Movement Against Nuclear Energy, fishermen and other people residing in the concerned area.[7] Their reasons are genuine. This nuclear plant is located nearby a biosphere reserve at the south eastern tip of India which is an important habitat to several living organisms.[8] Not only flora and fauna but huge numbers of fishermen are dependent on the natural surroundings for their survival. There is a rift between the two sectors namely the fishermen, native people and PMANE and the government on the important issue of nuclear power plant’s possible impact on the marine life, sea shore and lives of people residing there. While the government is completely confident about the safety and management of such a huge responsibility, PMANE and supporters lack faith in the government, reason being its past record at Bhopal Gas Tragedy  and numerous exemptions granted to this nuclear power project regarding the environmental clearances.

The Protesters further filed 2 PIL at Madras High Court and the Supreme Court Of India which unfortunately ended with few directions about the safety and management of the nuclear power plant but failed to provide any concrete relief to the unsatisfied mass of protestors.[9]


A nuclear power plant is undoubtedly a solution to the problem of the energy crisis, but this same nuclear power plant can cause damage to an unimaginable extent to the environment. The decision to set up a nuclear power plant in an environmentally rich zone can prove to be quite fatal. It has the potential to damage the marine life and coastal region to a large extent. The negligence of the government in looking at the situation from the environmental perspective especially the issues regarding the environmental clearances definitely creates doubt regarding the intention of the government about the people and fisherman of Kudankulam. Unfortunately the nuclear power plant has been commissioned after the court has decided in its favour looking at the larger public interest.

This particular case is one of the instances where we get to know about our insensitivity towards the natural resources and value of the lives of the people when compared to the so called development. Another question that evolves out of such instances is: can a development that poses survival threats to people and our natural resources be a development in the truest sense?


[1] Smt. Indira Gandhi (late Prime Minister Of India) Plenary Session Of UN conference on Human Environment Stockholm 14Th June,1972

[2] G. Sunderrajan v. Union Of India

[3] The Atomic Energy Act of 1948 is repealed and was replaced by the Atomic Energy Act of 1962. This act was further amended in the year 1986,1987. These amendments were brought keeping in mind the changing scenario in atomic energy field.

[4] The Nuclear power plant at Kudankulam is the result of an international agreement between India and Russia (then USSR) in the year 1988. However due to political reasons the construction of the project started quite late in 2002

[5] There are severe allegations that the environmental clearances were not taken seriously in this particular case. No NOC(No Objection Certificate) were granted by State Pollution control Board(TNPCB) and other clearances . Other environmental clearances were also disregarded. These issues were also raised while filing PIL at Madras HC and Supreme Court of India.

[6] The project lacks at liability front as well. The Russian counterpart in this particular project is exempted from any major liability.


[8] Supra 2


Knowing What We Eat!

By Ramya Honnegowda

In recent years the popularity of seafood has grown among consumers due to its health benefits. Nevertheless, due to overfishing and environmental diminution the dependency on farmed raised fishes has amplified. However, when consuming farm-raised fish, consumers may not be conscious that with every bite they are getting a dose of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and/or other chemicals which known to cause cancer or other harmful effects on human health.  As intake of farm-raised fish grows, consumers need to be aware of the risk involved with eating it and feeding it to their children, who are eating the drugs, chemicals and contaminants found in aquaculture products.

Most of the Countries have enacted Rules and Regulations that are primarily responsible for ensuring that both domestic and imported seafood is safe for consumers. Fish feed regulations is deliberated to be important as it keeps the entire society healthy. The primary purpose of feed regulation is to make sure that the fish feed is:

  • Pure and wholesome
  • Produced under clean conditions
  • Free of harmful substances
  • Labeled appropriately and truthfully

As a case study, I have briefly enumerated the Feed Regulations in California for a better understanding of what essentially is feed regulation:

State of California


Rich in agriculture, California’s Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) is tasked with shaping, implementing, and enforcing feed regulations in the state.  “The amount of animal feed commodities used in California has increased substantially over the past decade, making California the largest manufacturer of animal feed in the U.S.”[1] CDFA’s Safe Animal Feed Education Program (SAFE) conducts outreach, education, and voluntary feed quality assurance audits for manufacturers of commercial feed.  Because the number of on-farm feed production has risen in the state, SAFE also targets efforts towards these producers of feed.

The relevant code sections dealing with Commercial Feed are enumerated under Chapter 6 of California’s Food & Agriculture Code (the Code).  The Code establishes a Feed Inspection Advisory Board under Article 4, generally responsible for serving the industry for the benefit of consumers.  The Code specifies the regulations for licensing, labeling, standards and tolerances, inspections and analyses, mislabeling, adulteration, inspection tonnage tax, violations, procedure for prosecution, and complaints.

Analogous to the California law, is the California Code of Regulations (Plant Industry), under Title 3 from Section 2675 to 2803. This part of the Code goes into the specifics on what is permitted and prohibited in commercial animal feed. It also provides the definitions relating to feed and the precise limits for various chemicals, minerals, and other substances added to, and/or present, in feed. It is important to note that when analyzing California’s commercial animal feed regulations, reference must be made to both the Food & Agriculture Code and the California Code of Regulations (Title 3)[2].



With some exceptions, “every lot, parcel, or package of commercial feed distributed within this state shall have affixed to it, or be accompanied by, a label.”[3]   Contents of the label must include “legible and plainly printed statement which certifies all of the following:

(a) The net weight or volume of the contents of the lot or parcel unless accompanied by a certified certificate of weights and measures.

(b) The product name, brand name, or trademark.

(c) The name and principal address of the manufacturer or person that is responsible for placing the commodity on the market.

(d) The guaranteed analysis stated in such terms as the secretary specifies by regulation.

(e) The recognized official name, as specified by the secretary, of each ingredient. The secretary may by regulation permit the use of a collective term for a group of ingredients which performs a similar function. The secretary may exempt a commercial feed, or any combination of commercial feeds from labeling requirements if he finds the listing is not necessary to comply with the intent of this chapter.

(f) Adequate directions, warnings and caution statements that may be necessary for the safe use of any feed.”[4]

There are also code sections covering labeling feed mixes, claims of guarantees on labels, and exemptions from labeling for feed produced or distributed at a location under the same ownership as the manufacturer.[5]   In the corresponding section of the California Code of Regulations (Title 3), the remainder of laws on commercial feed labeling range from section 2683 to 2698 and provide the details on all of the label laws only briefly discussed in the Food & Agriculture Code.  Two notable sections provide the special labeling rules pertaining to feeds containing drugs or medications[6] and for drug and food additive guarantees.[7]

Inspection and Analysis:

California law mandates inspections, at reasonable times, for all aspects of the commercial feed industry and gives inspectors the right to take samples and conduct analysis.[8]   Other rules for inspections include requiring government reports of their results. The results are to be provided to the relevant parties and the law prohibits the use of government analysis or reports in advertising the product (feed).[9]

Mislabeling, Misbranding, Adulteration, and Damaged Feed:

Commercial feed is deemed mislabeled if any of the following are found:

(a) Its labeling is false or misleading in any particular.

(b) It is not labeled as required by this chapter.

(c) Any word, statement, or other information required pursuant to this chapter to appear on the label is not prominently placed thereon with such conspicuousness, as compared with other words, statements, designs, or devices in the labeling and in such terms as to render it likely to be read and understood under customary conditions of purchase and use.[10]

Misbranding is when a product is labeled as a different brand than it really is or if it purports to contain some ingredient(s) that it does not.[11]   California also prohibits misleading advertising[12] and has detailed rules on adulteration.[13]  Feed is damaged and deemed adulterated and unlawful for sale if “it or any ingredient has been affected by smoke, heat, water, mold, or contamination by any foreign substance to such an extent as to affect the nutritive value, therapeutic value, palatability, or wholesomeness of the feed.”[14]   The code goes on to require notifying authorities when the product may be damaged and holding sales until the State tests samples and approves further sale or orders the product destroyed.[15]


CDFA’s Feed, Fertilizer, and Livestock Drugs Regulatory Services Branch issues licenses for commercial feed and offers guidance to the industry on complying with the requirements.  The current commercial feed license has an annual cost of $300.00[16] and includes an exemption for retail stores selling bagged or packaged commercial feed, which must be properly labeled by a licensed feed manufacturer.[17]  In the corresponding licensing section of the Code of Agriculture, another exemption to the commercial license requirement is for a “person who manufactures commercial feed exclusively for feeding his or her own animals.”[18]

There are also special licenses set forth in their respective sections under the Code of Regulations.  For example, in the code section titled Processed Animal Waste Products, there are additional licensing requirements, including requiring the submission of a complete description of the facilities involved and protocols observed by the license applicant.[19]   The authorities then review the application, determine whether to endorse the facility, and even if they approve a license, the government retains the right to summarily suspend it if they find the procedures are not being followed or if pathogens may be present in the product.[20]

Residues, Medicated Feed, Food Additives, and Harmful Substances:

The Code of Regulations provides the definitions and details of various ingredients commonly found in feed, from plant products to marine products to animal products, as well as discusses different indigestible residues and their limits or rules within the commercial feed context.[21]   With regards to medicated feed, it is unlawful to use such feed except in compliance with the directions on the tag or label.[22]   The safety and efficacy of medications and additives are discussed in the Code of Regulations, incorporating federal statutes pertaining to rules on drugs in food.[23]   Lastly, the law reserves the right of the secretary of state to “require the percentage listing of any material which he finds to be of minimal nutritional value.”[24]

California also prohibits the use or sale of poisonous or deleterious substances, including anything that “may impair the health of the animal being fed or result in an illegal or harmful residue or constituent in or on human food.”[25]   The code section on pesticide residue in commercial feed incorporates federal regulations.[26]

The seafood consumed could be made much safer if:

  •  The regulatory organizations were to follow the best practices in complying with the statutory requirements. The regulatory organization of every country works towards tightening standards reduce the use of antibiotics in aquaculture by withholding new approvals of antibiotics for such us.
  • Consumers can also act to ensure that they are purchasing the healthiest seafood for themselves and their families. They should also look for the labels to guarantee and distinguish between farmed raised or wild fish. Request the local markets to carry seafood that does not contain antibiotics.

[1] California Department of Food & Agriculture, SAFE Website Homepage:

[2]Reference Note:  A link to a .pdf version of both sections can be found at the California DFA website (under the heading, “Feed, Fertilizer, Livestock Drugs” and under the link, “Feed Laws and Regulations”). Available at

[3] Cal. Food & Agric. Code §14991

[4] Cal. Food & Agric. Code §14992

[5] Id. at §14993-14996.

[6] Cal. Code Regs. tit. 3, §2701

[7] Cal. Code Regs. tit. 3, §2702

[8] Cal. Food & Agric. Code §15021

[9] Cal. Code Regs. tit. 3, §2717 – § 2719

[10]Cal. Food & Agric. Code §15031

[11] Cal. Code Regs. tit. 3, § 2733

[12] Cal. Code Regs. tit. 3, §2712

[13] Cal. Food & Agric. Code §15041

[14] Cal. Code Regs. tit. 3, §2760(a)

[15] Id at § 2760(b-e)

[16] Id at § 2751(b)

[17] Id at § 2751(a)

[18] Cal. Food & Agric. Code §15051(c)(2)

[19] Cal. Code Regs. tit. 3, § 2774.5

[20] Id at §2774.5(a)(2)

[21] For example see, Id at §22774, §2788 and §2790

[22] Id at § 2766

[23] Id, at§2676

[24] Id, at§2706

[25] Cal. Code Regs. tit. 3, at §2677

[26] Id, at§2678