About ICSF


What We Do

The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) is an international non-governmental organization that works towards the establishment of equitable, gender-just,self-reliant and sustainable fisheries, particularly in the small-scale, artisanal sector.

ICSF draws its mandate from the historic International Conference of Fishworkers and their Supporters (ICFWS), held in Rome in 1984, parallel to the World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

As a support organization, ICSF is committed to influence national, regional and international decision-making processes in fisheries so that the importance of small-scale fisheries, fishworkers and fishing communities is duly recognized. In this endeavour, ICSF works in collaboration with organizations of fishworkers and other like-minded groups.

“A future in which fishing communities and fishworkers lead a life of dignity, realizing their right to life and livelihood, and organizing to foster democracy, equity, sustainable development, and responsible use of natural resources.” Our Vision

Our Mission

ICSF’s mission is “to support fishing communities and fishworker organizations, and empower them to participate in fisheries from a perspective of decent work, equity, gender-justice, self-reliance and sustainability”.

Our Approach

Based mainly on a human rights-based approach and the principles of good governance as elucidated in the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, ICSF would focus on enhancing social development and sustainable use of fishery resources of small-scale fishing communities, worldwide.


July 1984

International Conference of Fish Workers and their Supporters (ICFWS) A spontaneous gathering of like-minded people, from different continents and backgrounds, drawn together by a common interest in the rights of fisher-people and the need to preserve a way of life along the coasts and inland water bodies that was harmonious with the environment.

Rome Report


Formation of the Collective at the 1986 meeting and ending with the General Body, in February 1998. The end-point of the period coincides with the formation of the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fishworkers (WFF), as an international body of mainly organisations of small-scale fishers.

The decision taken at the Founding Conference in Trivandrum was to honour and put into action the mandate given by the Rome Conference of 1984 to initiate a network that would “direct efforts towards the creation of a solid mass based organization of fishworkers at national levels which would set the direction and control of the nature of assistance necessary in their struggle.” It was further decided that this mandate would be put to review after a few years, on the basis of feedback from the constituency of fishworkers.

The years from 1986 to 1990 are regarded as a period of implementing the mandate; the years from 1990 to 1994, as a period of continuing the mandate, and the last few years, from 1994 to 1998, as a period of expanding the mandate.

1990 & 1994 — 2 General Body meetings that set the markers for organisational review and course correction.

Trivandrum Report


ICSF reviewed its relevance against the mandate derived from the Rome Conference, in the context of the emergence of the WFF.


ICSF envisioned a new mandate and, based on this, its general body issued revised vision and mission statements


Continuation of the mandate—ICSF engaged with a wide range of issues related to fisheries and fishing communities all over the world. Among these issues are the rights of small-scale fishworkers to coastal and fisheries resources; marine protected areas (MPAs); certification and ecolabelling schemes; gender issues in fisheries; the recently adopted Work in Fishing Convention 2007 of the International Labour Organization (ILO); labour and trade issues in fisheries; and aquaculture


ICSF is re-launched in 2017 by a group drawn mainly from the old ICSF, and is registered as ICSF/CIAPA in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (KvK number 69248761). A General Assembly meeting was held in Amsterdam on 7-8 December, 2017. A new Board was elected for a period of three years (up to Dec 2020)


In September, 2018, ICSF registered office shifted to International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), Zaanstraat 282, 1013 SB Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ICSF’s RSIN number is 857801570 dated 14/07/2017.

Antonio Garcia-Allut

He is an associate professor at the University of La Coruña, Spain. A PhD in social anthropology, he holds a UNESCO Professorship in Sustainable Coastal Development at the University of Vigo. He is also the Founder of Lonxanet Foundation for Sustainable Fishing, a nonprofit established in 2002 in La Coruña, Spain, with three key objectives. One, enabling small-scale artisanal fishers to achieve better management and governance of fisheries. Two, advocating for the environmental and socioeconomic sustainability of small-scale commercial fisheries. And, three, collaborating with artisanal fishers to implement applied and functional projects that strengthen artisanal fishing in the market (direct marketing), social visibility (fishing tourism) and governance and sustainable management (co-managed marine reserves).


Beatriz Mesquita Pedrosa Ferreira

She is a researcher at the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation (Fundaj) in northeastern Brazil; the foundation comes under the Center for Culture, Identity and Memory Studies of the Federal Government. An ICSF member since 2011, her broad research interest is in the society-environment relationship. More specifically, she focuses on coastal governance, marine protected areas and artisanal fishing. In these critical areas, she has worked in recent years to create networks of participants, such as the Artisanal Fishing Nets Web, PainelMar and the Brazilian Ocean Program (HOB). She is the editor of a Fundaj journal and an adviser to the MPA council and Fisheries Local Committee. She has PhD in Fisheries Resources and Aquaculture.


Bobby MG

He is the CEO of Network Activities Group (NAG), an NGO focusing on governance issues like food security, livelihood and natural resources. A Chevening fellow, he holds a master’s degree in Regional and Rural Development Planning, along with a bachelor’s in Forestry Science. He is the founder and Principal Instructor of the Center for Rural Development (C4RD) in Myanmar. He serves as a collaborative researcher at the Research Institute of Humanity and Nature, and as an Organizing Committee Member at the Mercury Free Society Network. An advocate of the rights of farmers, fishers and ethnic minorities, he has a key role in several regional and international civil society platforms.


Brian O’Riordan

He has worked in fisheries for nearly five decades. He holds a master’s in science degree in applied fisheries, along with a diploma in fisheries management. He spent over 20 years working in countries of the South in technical cooperation projects, investing the past two decades engaged in policy advocacy work. Since 2015, he has been employed by the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE). He is currently its executive secretary and works out of LIFE’s office in Brussels. The organization has three main roles: one, it represents the interests of its members; two, it provides a voice for its members in policy advocacy; and, three, it provides services such as information and capacity building.


Charles Menzies

He is a member of Gitxaała Nation, a First Nations government located in the village of Lach Klan in the North Coast region of Canada’s province of British Columbia. He was born and raised in a commercial fishing family in the port city of Prince Rupert. His first career was as a salmon seiner and halibut longliner. His second career is as a professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia, where his primary research interests are the production of anthropological films, natural resource management, the political economy, contemporary issues of the First Nations, maritime anthropology, and indigenous archaeology. He also functions as a special adviser on cultural and heritage research for Gitxaała Nation.



Cornelie Quist

An adviser on small-scale fisheries, both marine and inland, she has a master’s in arts degree in rural sociology. An ICSF member since 1986, she’s on the ‘Gender in Fisheries and Aquaculture Section’ of AFS since 2017. Her work extends to several fields: community-based fisheries management; livelihood development in small-scale fisheries; integrating a gender perspective on women in fisheries; and human rights. She has experience in action research; capacity-building, training and coaching; participatory approaches; multi-stakeholder interest groups’ processes; institutional development and organizational strategies; and institutional learning. Her special interests include developing a feminist perspective and a human rights-based approach in fisheries. She has worked in Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines and the Netherlands.

Cornelie Quist Consultancy

Leopoldo Gerhardinger

He is a scientist working on marine ethnoecology and governance. His training is joined to a deep social concern, with a current focus in the promotion of equitable and sustainable area-based ocean management approaches in Brazil. Beyond academia, he is actively involved in building several multi-level ocean knowledge-to-action networks. These foster new types of voluntary engagement for improved governability and healthier oceans.


Maarten Bavinck

He was a professor of coastal resource governance at the University of Amsterdam and UiT, The Arctic University of Norway. His long-standing engagement with small-scale fishworkers has focused, for several years now, on South Asia, particularly India and Sri Lanka, and to a lesser extent western and southern Africa. He takes a livelihood perspective, working on issues of law, tenure and governance. Maarten is the founding director of the Centre for Maritime Research (MARE) in the Netherlands; it provides a platform for social scientists interested in coastal and marine matters. His research projects have included a social action component. Since joining ICSF in 2017, he has chaired its board.


Ravadee Prasertcharoensuk

She is with the Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF), a Thai non-government organization working with marginalized and vulnerable upland and coastal communities. Its work includes the right to productive resources and livelihoods, sustainable resource management practices, biodiversity conservation, disaster risk reduction, and building resilience to climate change. Their ongoing work focuses on advocacy of the rights of small-scale fisheries, governance in fishery management, gender mainstreaming, and governance in ecosystem-based coastal and sustainable aquaculture fishery management. Strengthening and empowerment of SSF movements is a key focus of SDF towards gaining sustainability and resilience in fishery livelihoods, food security, conservation of both marine biodiversity and fishery stocks, and identifying and mitigating threats to livelihoods and coastal ecosystems.



Vivek Vivekanandan

After graduating as a mechanical engineer, he studied rural management and got an opportunity in 1982 to work with a cooperative of small-scale fishers. He has stayed put in the fisheries sector for the past four decades. He is the director of the Fisheries Management Resource Centre (FishMARC), a unit of the Vrutti Livelihood Resource Centre. His current work, almost entirely in the Indian context, includes several themes: protecting and enhancing livelihoods of fishers through a variety of means; co-management of fish resources by developing models and protocols; policy aspects related to fisheries management and coastal issues; and strengthening of fishworker collectives.

Website: and

Vivienne Solis Rivera

A biologist from the University of Costa Rica, she has a master’s degree in systematics and ecology. She is part of CoopeSoliDar RL, a cooperative for social solidarity; it promotes the conservation of biological and cultural diversity as a main asset for resilience of communities. At the regional level, it promotes capacity strengthening of small-scale fisheries and its sustainable management in a framework based on human rights and social justice. Her work guided the cooperative’s professional work towards the community-based management of conservation, natural resources and the governance of protected areas, with a special focus on gender. It promotes civil participation in policy making, combining conservation and livelihood for small scale fisheries.


Organizational Structure