Fishing Community Mourns Loss via Seafood Business

[editor note: Fiona Robinson, Seafood Business associate publisher and editor, wrote this tribute below for Chandrika Sharma who was lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. In spite of the somewhat bizarre, speculative and loopy news coverage, this tells a single story of a person who will be missed and creates a void in our world that is real. The report follows in its entirety from]

The world fishing community was saddened to hear that fisheries activist Dr. Chandrika Sharma, executive secretary for the International Collective in Support of Fish Workers, was on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared over the South China Sea more than two weeks ago.

Sharma left Chennai, India, on 7 March and was on her way to Mongolia for a United Nations conference and had been scheduled to return home by the 15th. The airline has announced that the plane is presumed lost in the Indian Ocean with no survivors.

I didn’t know her personally, yet Sharma’s work supporting small-scale fisheries and gender equity was lauded in a 20 March post by Brett Tolley on the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance website. Small-scale fisheries account for more than half of the globe’s wild seafood, and Sharma had dedicated her life to ensuring a human rights framework was the foundation of fisheries management. She had also pushed to strengthen and protect women’s rights and shined a spotlight on discrimination that prevented gender equality.

Family and friends are left searching for answers that may never come. Her husband recently shared with CNN a heartfelt note on how he has dealt with the ordeal. He’s getting through each day by not getting overwhelmed watching the news coverage or following it on his computer. He wrote: “I remain focused on what we have at hand by way of information, and stay with the knowledge that Chandrika is strong and courageous, that her goodness must count for something, somewhere.”

Perhaps the best way to honor Sharma’s memory is to take up the issues that she championed. Get involved in worker-rights issues, no matter what type of seafood-related company you work for. Women need to speak up for equality in the workplace, whether in fisheries or fish farming. Many years of positive movement on both fronts are at stake: Don’t let the groundwork that Sharma paved be in vain. – See more at:

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