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:


A Large Ocean State Seeks Change by Aurélie Delisle, 2020

Vulnerability to climate change has forced the Pacific republic to build resilience through community approaches to fisheries management Download

A New Deal with our Ocean Planet by John Kurien, 2020

The creation of an inclusive, equitable and sustainable ocean economy calls for bold political and social leadership, based on a holistic relationship with our ocean planet Download

Not Without Our Consent by ICSF, 2022

The following Statements were made by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) at the Thirty-fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of the Food and Agriculture Organization...

Leap Year by Crocevia, 2022

At the 35th Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), governments and civil society reiterated their commitment to the SSF Guidelines and the IYAFA Global Action Plan Download

Skilled fishers, bungling economy by Oli Jacobsen, 1996

The work of Foraya Fiskimannafelag, the association of Faroese fishermen, highlights the problems facing the Islands’ fisheries Download

Green, Blue and Right by Sebastian Mathew, 2011

The FAO-OECD Expert Meeting on Greening the Economy with Agriculture (GEA) was held during 5-7 September 2011 in Paris, France Download

Green, Blue and True by ICSF, 2012

The following is the input of ICSF to the Compilation Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) Download

Growth blues by Maarten Bavinck, 2017

Coastal degradation, socioeconomic inequality and the rise of purse-seine fishing in India pose a set of problems that often end in a zero-sum game for fisher groups Download

Baffling Shades of Blue by Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger and Adrián Ribaric et. Al, 2021

The much touted Blue Economy can easily become a new label to justify old injustices – or a means of addressing the concerns of small-scale fisheries Download

Blue Gold by John Virdin and Henrik Österblom, 2021

A study illustrates the deep influences that guide the gilded ocean economy: just 100 companies generated 60 per cent of revenues from the largest ocean-based industries in 2018 Download