ICSF Thematic Campaigns


ICSF campaigns address four themes: Food Security, Blue Economy, Tenure Rights and Climate Change. These are interrelated themes with varied implications for the lives and livelihoods of Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) communities. They require the engagement of fishworkers’ organizations from across the world.

The campaigns build upon the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), endorsed by FAO Committee on Fisheries (FAO COFI) in 2014. They carry forward the achievements of 2022, observed as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA). Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, IYAFA-2022 is a milestone in the efforts to recognize and highlight the contributions of SSF to global food security, environmental sustainability and well-being.

IYAFA-2022 brought much-needed visibility to the sector in international processes on sustainable development, marine and aquatic biodiversity and climate change. It highlighted the livelihoods, rights and contributions of SSF, including the diverse women, men, communities and organizations at the heart of the sector. Yet they need greater attention, particularly in the face of rapid changes in the use of terrestrial, aquatic and marine resources.

ICSF will draw the attention of policymakers, civil-society and other stakeholders to the need for inclusive policies and programmes in support of the SSF sector. It will do this through its international research, documentation, advocacy, stakeholder consultations and workshops.

Ongoing activities under these campaigns provide opportunities to collaborate with diverse fishworker and civil society organizations in support of SSF. They can influence global, regional and national processes, showing the SSF sector’s contributions to food security and nutrition. They can ensure the maritime (‘blue’) economy is inclusive and sustainable. They can secure the rights of fishing communities to marine resources and coastal habitats. They can promote the active participation of SSF in efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Current Programmes

Food Security

Small-scale fisheries (SSF) play a unique—frequently hidden—role in assuring nutrition and food security in today’s world. This is even more important for the future. As FAO points out, more than two billion people, a quarter of the world’s population, are food insecure. ‘Zero hunger’ continues to be an important Sustainable Development Goal. Provided adequate support, SSF will continue playing this.... For more:

Justice in the Blue Economy

Blue Economy is an omnibus term for all economic sectors with a direct or indirect link to the ocean. In 2016, OECD projected that by 2030, the Blue Economy could outperform the growth of the global economy as a whole. In various formulations, this includes both old uses of coastal and marine resources (food provisioning, marine transport and infrastructure, energy production, extraction and tourism) and emerging industries (for example, marine biotechnology, seabed mining and carbon sequestration)... For more:

Tenure Rights

The campaign for Tenure Rights seeks a balance between equitable development of fishing communities and the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources on which they depend. The SSF Guidelines make it clear that secure tenure rights to the fishing grounds, to land and other resources form the basis for the social and cultural well-being of fishing communities.... For more:

Climate Change

The impacts of climate change on fisheries and fishing communities cannot be ignored any longer. Recent reports of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) extensively describe the effects of rising carbon emissions on marine ecosystems and fisheries. Moreover, small-scale fisheries (SSF) are constantly having to adapt to pollution and degraded ecosystems, even as they strive to reduce the footprint of overfishing. The environmental and economic impacts of climate change have been well documented. ICSF’s campaign will seek to study and communicate the social consequences of these changes on fishing communities. It will develop guidance specific to the SSF sector... For more:


ICSF’s interview with Christophe Béné, Senior Policy Advisor at the CIAT, Colombia

ICSF interview with Christophe Béné, senior policy advisor at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia on 14 February, 2019 Interviewer: Dr. Maarten Bavinck, Department of Geography, Planning...

Baffling Shades of Blue: Addressing the impacts of the Blue Economy on small-scale fisheries in Latin America

The incessant noise over ‘Blue Economy’ and ‘Blue Growth’ leaves artisanal and small-scale fishers dazed and confused. This report works through that confusion. It draws on scholarship from the trenches...

Making Small-scale Artisanal Fishing Zones Work!: Research study on the tenure rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized fishers in Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh by Vishakha Gupta

Under Indian legislation, i.e. various state Marine Fishing (Regulation) Act (MFRAs), small-scale traditional fishers are granted exclusive rights to near-shore marine waters, ostensibly to protect their rights and livelihoods. However,...

Report on Asia Workshop – IYAFA 2022: Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries, 4 – 8 May, 2022, The Berkeley Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

International collective in support of fishwokers (ICSF) in partnership with Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) Thailand had organized an International Workshop titled “IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries: Asia” from...

Responsible Governance of Tenure in Lake Victoria Fisheries: Report on the Responsible Governance of Tenure in Lake Victoria Fisheries

The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines) places responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in small-scale fisheries as central for the realization of human...

Workshop on “Small Indigenous Freshwater Fish Species: Their Role in Poverty Alleviation, Food Security and Conservation of Biodiversity”: SIFFS Workshop Report, 23-25 February 2010, Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

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...

Film – The Sea of Change: Traditional fishworker’s perception of climate change

Traditional fishworkers have long been forced to adapt to the forces of nature, and they are now confronted with the new threats of climate change, global warming, sea-level rise and...

Climate Change and Fisheries: Perspectives from Small-scale Fishing Communities in India on Measures to Protect Life and Livelihood

Through consultations with key fisheries-based stakeholders in four States of India, this study attempts to assess perceptions of fishing communities about the impact of climate change on their lives and...

A Stitch in Time by K G Thara, 2018

Cyclone Ockhi, which hit southern India late last year, brought out the need to empower communities to manage risks through locally owned and locally appropriate approaches Download

Building Back Better by Ahana Lakshmi, 2018

A workshop on Cyclone Ockhi, which swept through parts of south India, discussed ways to make coastal fishing communities more resilient to natural disasters Download

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