Monitoring and Research


Monitoring and Research programmes enable ICSF to document and communicate important aspects of artisanal and small-scale fisheries. Studies under these programmes generate information useful for lobbying, for example, international conferences and multilateral bodies.

Most of these studies, on topics like the Lomé Agreement, fisheries resource management, women in fisheries, fishing legislation, credit and insurance systems, fish diseases, conditions of work on distant-water fishing vessels and on coastal area management, marine protected areas have been published by ICSF. Besides this, ICSF has also developed bibliographies on women in fisheries, marine protected areas, climate change and on community-based marine and coastal resource management

Among the more significant studies are: 

  • Traditional knowledge Use for the Sustainable Management of Marine and Fishing Resources: The use of traditional knowledge can be a powerful conservation tool, providing community support for conservation plans and enabling the inclusion of customary ecological management practices in their design. This study documents three experiences in Central America where traditional knowledge has been used to improve marine spatial planning and frame a new policy oriented towards human rights approaches to fisheries and has given better tools for the governance of community managed protected areas.
  • Women’s Role, Struggles and Strategies Across the Fisheries Value Chain The Case of Lake Victoria—Tanzania: This study was conducted in June and July 2016, in the fishing areas of Mwanza and Kagera regions in the lake Victoria side of Tanzania. The focus of this study was on Dagaa (sardines) (Rastrineobola argentea) Fishery which involves mostly women in its overall value chain. The study sites were areas that are specialized in dagaa fishery and these include lushonga Island located in the Muleba district of Kagera region, Mwanza Kirumba international Fish Market and in some of the landing beaches in nyamagana and Ilemela districts in Mwanza. The findings of the study are presented as case studies in the form of two video clips. One explores the role and place of women along fisheries value chain: The significance and values their involvement in fisheries brings to the communities and fisheries development. 
  • A Study of Migrant Fishers from Andhra Pradesh in the Gujarat Marine Fishing Industry: The study relies primarily on unstructured interviews with migrant fishers, individually and in groups, in Veraval and with returnees and non-migrating fishers in selected villages in Srikakulam district. Based on the rapport established with individual fishers and the suggestions of fisheries officials and local associations, three villages were chosen: Srikurmam Machilesam in Garamandal, Patha Dibbalapalem in Etcherla, and Chinakovvada in Ranasthalam. The first and the last are large villages but almost 90 per cent men from the former migrate to Gujarat while the latter sees very little migration. Patha Dibbalapalem is a small hamlet of less than a hundred people, where too only a small number migrate for work. 
  • Implementation of SSF Guidelines: Towards the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication: The foregoing elements also inform the present paper, which draws on certain studies and reports commissioned by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) to prepare the reader for various stakeholders to understand the relevance and applicability of the ssf Guidelines in the context of a fast- changing environment – both for small-scale fishing communities and the world they deal with. Any meaningful discussion of ssf today must include an understanding of its social and political development. In order to understand where small-scale fishing communities stand today, who their stakeholders are and how political forces of the past have shaped their present context, it is vitally important to understand the history of these communities.
  • Social Relations and Dynamics Shaping the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Small-scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines) in South Africa: Integral to achieving the SSF Guidelines goal of targeting the most vulnerable and marginalized persons and eliminating discrimination is the need to have adequate understanding of the power relations and intersectionalities that shape access to and control over marine and other resources according to gender, age, race, ethnicity, labour and migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in each national contexts. This monograph identifies and explores the key social relations and dynamics in the SSF fisheries sector in South Africa impacting the implementation of the SSF Guidelines.
  • Inland Fisheries, Food Security and Poverty Eradication: A case study of Bihar and West Bengal: The study is seen as an opportunity to bridge some of the gaps in information on inland fisheries and to contribute, albeit in a small way, to a better understanding of how the FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) could apply in the Indian inland fisheries context. The study would identify gaps in policy and governance that hinder the contribution of inland fisheries to food security and poverty eradication.
  • A Study on Migration of Fishers from Kanyakumari to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG): This study aims to look at the situation of these migrant fishers to get a better understanding of their recruitment, living and working conditions on the one hand and to fishing practices on the other that sometimes lead to the arrest and detention of the fishers within and outside the GCC region.
  • ConteBurica: An indigenous people that listens to the Sea. Ngabe People. First approach: This study is part of the regional process of understanding the importance of traditional knowledge in Latin America. The study identifies the key developments in indigenous peoples issues in Costa Rica, especially relating to fishing communities. It also documents the perceptions of the leaders of the Council of Elders in relation to fisheries issues, craft, access to land and sea, marine conservation and climate change and social aspects along with gender equality. The study is specific to the marine aras of the Conteburica region.
  • The indigenous community of Rama of the Rama Cay Coast in the Caribbean region of Nicaragua: The aim of this work is to develop a case study in the indigenous community of Rama Rama Cay in the Autonomous Region of the Southern Caribbean (RACS) of Nicaragua; to provide a broader understanding of the issues of relevance, social, human rights, management and conservation of small-scale fisheries: traditional, artisanal and subsistence; technical and policy for political and economic decisions in the Central America.
  • Agua and Tiger Cays: Two indigenous localities of small scale fishing in the Bocas del Toro Archipielago, Panama
  • The Small Scale Fishing experience of the Garifuna Community in Nueva Armenia, Honduras: The case is part of the series of studies undertaken in Central America to document the experience of Artisanal Fisheries. This case study in Honduras, specifically focuses on the impact of climate change on the Garifuna community, and identifies the limitations and strengths of Garifuna community in terms of access and use rights to coastal marine resources. It documents the participation of women in the difference processes from capture to product marketing. It also focuses on the current situation of the community in terms of their basic living conditions.
  • Eyes on their Fingertips: Some Aspects of the Arts, Science, Technology and Culture of the Fisherfolk of Trivandrum, India: This study deals with the traditional marine wisdom of a set of people and the rarest of rare experiences they have had at sea. Through these numerous chapters he takes us into the seas of the fishers. It is a voyage which we cannot make in reality. But through the heroic deeds of his father, the riddles of oldman Sebesti, the shark story of brother Kamalappan, and the rituals of his mother, we get a fascinating peep into the wisdom of the watery world of the small-scale fishers of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
  • Small-scale Fishing in Central American Indigenous People: Governance, Tenure and Sustainable Management of Marine Resources: This research develops four case studies on small-scale fisheries in Central America located within indigenous territories. The ngöbe Bugle Conte Burica Territory in the south of Costa Rica, the Garífuna territory in nueva Armenia honduras, the Rama territory in nicaragua and the ngöbe Bugle territory in Bocas del Toro, Panamá. This is one of the first studies focusing on indigenous territories, artisanal fisheries and SSF guidelines.
  • Traditional knowledge in Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India: Where Tradition is a Way of Life: An attempt is being made to compile and collate the traditional knwowledge base existing within the community in the 10 inhabited islands of the coral archipelago in South west India- Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
  • Marine Protected Areas and Small-scale Fisheries in South Africa: Promoting Governance, Participation, Equity and Benefit Sharing: This monograph studies the progress achieved by conservation partners in South Africa on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Programme Element Two components of governance, participation, equity and benefit sharing, from the perspective of small-scale fishing communities. It explores the strategies and mechanisms used by different authorities to create the conditions whereby local communities can benefit from marine protected areas (MPAs), of which South Africa has gazetted 24, highlighting examples of best practice. The monograph will be useful for researchers, scientists, fishworker organizations, environmentalists and anyone interested in the protection of marine biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable fisheries management.
  • The Sundarbans Fishers: Coping in an Overly Stressed Mangrove Estuary: The fishing community of the Sundarbans are the human group most at home in the mud-slush-water-forest environment of this famous mangrove estuary. Their skills, knowledge, and technique have developed in response to a challenging environment. Yet, of the countless studies on the various aspects of this eco-region, there are exceedingly few that have studied the Sundarbans fisher in his/her ecological, historical and demographic context—as a key stakeholder in an environment under considerable stress. The present study seeks to reduce this lacuna a little. Its object is not merely to examine and analyse, but also to identify means, both tradition-based and innovative, which might contribute to protect the environment, improve economic conditions, and usher in people-based governance of resources.
  • Climate change and fishing communities: This study undertaken in India, documents the perceptions of fishing communities about the impact of climate change on their lives and livelihoods. It also evaluates the traditional knowledge, institutions and practices of fishing communities that are relevant to climate-change preparedness.
  • Marine Protected Areas: ICSF studies have shown that where conservation initiatives have been undertaken in non-participatory and exclusionary ways, they have led to social conflict, displacement of fishing communities, and to their marginalization and impoverishment. ICSF has documented case studies in South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. 
  • Rights on fishing communities: Small-scale fishing communities perspectives on their rights was documented in three countries - Philippines, Cambodia and India. These were presented in the Asian regional workshop. 
  • The Problematic of the Artisanal Fishing Zone: The concept of the ‘artisanal fishing zone’ has been a significant management tool recognized by fishworker organizations right from the 1984 Rome Conference. The idea was also formally proposed to the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries by ICSF and was eventually incorporated into the Code, with some amendments proposed by member countries. It was recognized that this concept has to be seen in the light of traditional migration patterns of fishermen as well as the changing nature of the artisanal sector, marked by technological changes that increased mobility. While artisanal fishers of some countries may find the artisanal zone a highly effective management tool, artisanal fishers of other countries, who have developed the capacity to fish in more distant waters, may find this concept unduly restrictive.
  • Women in Fisheries (WIF) Programme: Supporting the role of women in fisheries and enhancing their roles in decision-making processes at various levels has been a focus area for ICSF since its inception. The WIF programme has been instrumental in highlighting and valorizing, through workshops, country programmes, publications and studies, the vital role of women in fisheries and fishing communities in the South. Apart from WIF country programmes in Ghana and Brazil and, to a very limited extent, in Senegal and India, the WIF Programme organized a Workshop on Gender and Coastal Fishing Communities in Latin America in June 2000 in Brazil, a Workshop on Gender, Globalization and Fisheries, in Canada and the Asian Fisherfolk Conference in January 2002 in Thailand.
  • In 2000, the report titled Social Security for Fishworkers: A Study of Welfare and Development Assistance Programmes in the Marine Fishery Sector of Kerala State, India, put together by John Kurien and Antonyto Paul of the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, was published in English as a SAMUDRA monograph. The study analyzes the growth and changing composition of social security provisions in the fisheries sector of Kerala for the period 1964-1998.
  • Social Security of Fishworkers and the Role of Subsidies: The aim was to gain information on the possible forms of social security that could be provided in the artisanal sector and how such systems operated in other countries.
  • The Impact of Trade on Fishing Communities: A draft paper, Shell Out: The Shrimp-Turtle Dispute at WTO: Conserving Sea Turtles and Protecting Livelihoods, was prepared to study the implications of multilateral environmental and trade agreements for small-scale fisheries. The study shows how artisanal fishing communities inadvertently become the victims of international trade disputes over fishing methods.
  • Crisis in World Fisheries: Response of Fishworker Movements: When fisheries in several regions of the world are seen to be in crisis, it is particularly relevant to study the response of artisanal and small-scale fishworker organizations and their politics of engagement for the sustainability of resource use in fisheries. This programme was intended to document these processes by facilitating opportunities for dialogue between those part of, or supporting, fishworker movements in India, Canada and Senegal.
  • The State of World Fisheries from a Fishworker Perspective : This programme was conceived, inter alia, to generate reliable information about fishworkers and their communities in different parts of the world, in light of the fact that while information about fisheries resources is readily available, little is known about workers who harvest these resources for their life and livelihood.