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Biodiversity

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Water covers 70 percent of the Earth. Marine and freshwater environments sustain an abundance of life in its spectacular diversity. Through our history, small-scale fishing communities have interacted and depended on these living resources. A threat to aquatic environments is a danger to artisanal fishers.

Their protection and stewardship are essential to the communities and cultures they sustain. This relationship is a framework to manage conflicts and improve the quality of life and livelihood of small-scale fishers. It was recognized in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Governments increasingly designate marine protected areas (MPAs) for conservation and management. This legal instrument does help but its implementation has raised serious concerns. Target-driven expansion of MPAs is fixated on quantitative goals. This has hit the rights, livelihoods and sustainable use practices of small-scale fishing communities. MPAs—created often in a non-consultative and non-participatory manner—have focused on regulating/restricting their fisheries, failing to recognize their sustainable livelihoods, culture and survival.

It is imperative that protection efforts are grounded in principles of sustainable use. That their processes are inclusive and recognizebuilding upon them. Artisanal fishers must be the frontline of marine biodiversity conservation. There is an urgent need for systematic improvements on all such matters.

A range of ICSF’s initiatives highlight the social and political dimensions of conservation. The importance of livelihoods of poor and vulnerable communities, of their participation and consultation. The co-management of resources by fishing communities, based on a human rights approach to conservation.

Current Programmes

Participation at CBD meetings, and collaboration with fish workers organizations, local community and indigenous groups is useful in contesting target driven and top-down approaches to conservation, and the associated violations of human rights linked to these approaches. It is also useful in influencing the text of the decisions adopted to take on board indigenous and local community concerns.

Resources

COP15: Charting a course for a sustainable planet (draft) by Sivaja K Nair

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Around 20,000 delegates from about 190 countries convened at Montreal, Quebec, the seat of the UN CBD Secretariat, to guide global action to protect nature through 2030 amid protests from...

Handbook on Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for small-scale fishing communities

This Handbook, developed by ICSF and Crocevia, describes the components of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and provides an overview of its programmes, targets and commitments on aquatic, marine...

Why is biodiversity important for small-scale fisheries: Video on a new Handbook by ICSF and Crocevia

Small-scale fisheries (SSF) operate in both marine and inland waters, accounting for over half of the total fish catch in developing countries. The bulk of this catch is destined for...

Marine Protected Areas and Small-scale Fisheries in South Africa: Promoting Governance, Participation, Equity and Benefit Sharing by Jackie Sunde

This research reflects on the progress achieved by conservation partners in South Africa on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Programme Element. It explores the strategies and...

MPA Workshop proceedings: Fishery-Dependent Livelihood, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity : The Case of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas in India, 1-2 March 2012 , India International Centre, New Delhi, India

The workshop reviewed existing legal and institutional mechanisms for creating, implementing and reporting MCPAs in India, and discussed their impact from the perspective of environmental justice and human rights and...

Getting it right: Incorporating social aspects into MPA planning and implementation By ICSF, 2010

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This document summarizes a series of case studies done in nine countries—Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania and Thailand—on the role of communities in the planning and...

Marine protected areas in Thailand: Time for a sea change: A study of the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation measures and marine protected areas along southern Thailand’s Andaman sea coastline

This study examines how Thailand’s biodiversity conservation measures affect fishing communities, especially in the marine protected areas (MPAs) on the Andaman Sea coastline. It documents the various efforts of the...

Workshop on “Small Indigenous Freshwater Fish Species: Their Role in Poverty Alleviation, Food Security and Conservation of Biodiversity”: SIFFS Workshop Report

This is the report on the workshop on “Small Indigenous Freshwater Fish Species: Their Role in Poverty Alleviation, Food Security and Conservation of Biodiversity”, organized by the ICSF in collaboration...

Diverse Areas: Marine Protected Areas and Small-scale Fishing Communities : A collection of articles from SAMUDRA Report

In preparation for COP10 of CBD, ICSF compiled all articles from Samudra Report on MPAs and highlight the problems with top-down planning and implementation of MPAs, while drawing attention to...

The India MPA Workshop Proceedings – Social Dimensions of Marine Protected Areas Implementation in India: Do Fishing Communities Benefit?, 21-22 January 2009

The workshop was meant to discuss five case studies on marine and coastal protected areas in India undertaken from a fishing community perspective. The deliberations at the workshop centered around...

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Marine protected areas promote stability of reef fish communities under climate warming by Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi el al., 2024

Protection from direct human impacts can safeguard marine life, yet ocean warming crosses marine protected area boundaries. Here, we test whether protection offers resilience to marine heatwaves from local to...

A diverse portfolio of marine protected areas can better advance global conservation and equity by David A. Gill et al., 2024

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are widely used for ocean conservation, yet the relative impacts of various types of MPAs are poorly understood. We estimated impacts on fish biomass from no-take...

The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Bill No. 158 of 2021)

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Highlights of the Bill The Bill amends the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 to simplify compliance requirements for domestic companies. Users of codified traditional knowledge and AYUSH practitioners will be exempted...

Draft agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, dated 12 June 2023 (A/CONF.232/2023/L.3)

Intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of...

Community and Marine Conservation in South Africa: Are We Still Missing the Mark? by Nasreen Peer et al.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in South Africa have a long history with currently 5% of the mainland’s ocean territory protected. The MPAs are celebrated and appreciated for their representative coverage...

Draft agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, Dated 4 March 2023

Intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of...

Illuminating Hidden Harvests – The contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development by FAO, Duke University & WorldFish, 2023

Illuminating Hidden Harvests: the contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development (hereinafter IHH) is a global study uncovering the contributions and impacts of small-scale fisheries through a multidisciplinary approach to...

Draft agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction

Draft agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction Download

FAO and the marine biological diversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) process: Information package for BBNJ delegates by FAO

The purpose of this document is to provide information on the activities of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that are relevant to the biological diversity...

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022: Towards blue transformation by FAO

The 2022 edition of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture coincides with the launch of the Decade of Action to deliver the Global Goals, the United Nations Decade of...

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