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:


Crashing the Blue Party by Alain Le Sann, 2020

Confronted with plans for an offshore wind farm, the fishers of the Bay of Saint Brieuc in France are clamouring for their rights to be respected and guaranteed Download

From Blue Fear to Blue Trust by Brian O’Riordan, 2022

Representatives of small-scale fishing communities – the most numerous ocean users –launch a Call to Action at the United Nations Ocean Conference 2022 Download

Mealy Deal by Beatrice Gorez, 2018

For West African artisanal fishing communities, the fishmeal boom may be a bonanza for a few, but is a curse for most Download

Not a Small Focus by Sebastian Mathew, 2018

With a record participation, the Thirty-third Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) managed to integrate small-scale fisheries issues into almost all agenda items Download

Rise Up! by ICSF, 2020

The RISE UP Blue Call to Action is a joint call by civil society, fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples and philanthropic organizations for bold action to safeguard the ocean at the next...

No More Blood and Fire by Juan Carlos Cardenas Nunez, 2020

For the first time in Chile, a new type of autonomous social movement, including fishworker organizations, seeks to create a democratic and representative constitution Download

The Future is Inland by V.V. Sugunan, 2020

If managed sensibly, inland water bodies can go a long way to provide India with a sustainable future and food security for its population Download

Strong Women, Strong Nation by Joctan Dos Reis Lopes, 2020

Innovative research in the Southeast Asian island nation of Timor-Leste has obtained data to help close the gender gap and provide food security for the local community Download

Small Fish, Big Solution by Peter Linford Adjei, 2020

Access to affordable small fish is key to achieving zero hunger and improved nutrition in Ghana’s poor urban households, a new study shows Download

World Fisheries Day is a time to reiterate the rights of small-scale fisherfolk and Indigenous Peoples to secure food sovereignty by Editridith Lukanga, 2021

We, in the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), represent small-scale fisher people including Indigenous Peoples from the four global movements, the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish...