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:


Leaving None Behind by John Kurien, 2020

Artisanal fishers’ experiential knowledge contains qualities that can help the world face some of its most difficult problems including climate change. We need to value their wisdom Download

Chewing the Policy Cud by Nachiket Kelkar, 2020

Reflections on the ICSF workshop and recommendations to India’s draft National Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy (NIFAP), September 2019 Download

Social Development: Increasingly Vulnerable by Md.Mujibul Haque Munir, 2021

A study has come up with specific recommendations for the development and welfare of the fisheries sector and its small-scale fisher communities in Bangladesh, the ‘Land of Rivers’ Download

A Ripple Effect by Kyoko Kusakabe, 2021

The post-COVID-19 lockdowns did not just hit fishing operations and markets in Cambodia but also resulted in nutritional insecurity for the most vulnerable small-scale fishers Download

Under Their Own Steam by Simeao Lopes, 2021

Natural disasters like cyclones, more than the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with lack of research on the conditions of the poor, threaten the well-being of small-time fishers in Mozambique Download

Hotter, Wetter, Saltier by Samiya A. Selim et al.,

The unique geography of Bangladesh makes it extremely vulnerable to climate change and warrants appropriate tools and strategies to combat and mitigate negative impacts Download

Be Resilient, Not Vulnerable by Irmak Ertör et al., 2023

The effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on small-scale fisheries in Istanbul, Turkey, bring out the need to address the structural inequalities and power asymmetries that bind the sector Download

Recognizing Green Leaders by Alison Macnaughton, 2022

Across the world, small-scale fishers have set examples of leadership to meet the environmental challenge. Now, a university initiative documents such exemplary efforts Download

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall by Ahana Lakshmi, 2022

The IPCC’s sixth assessment report says small-scale fishers are among the people on the planet most vulnerable to the effects of climate change Download

Uniting for Change by Beatriz Mesquita Jardim Pedrosa, 2011

At a recent conference in Recife, fishers from northeast Brazil demanded recognition of their status and rights to their territories Download