Campaigns and Action


The Campaigns and Action programmes are meant to draw attention to processes that have an adverse impact on the access of fishworkers to resources, and to suggest alternatives that help defend their right to life and livelihood. Towards this end, ICSF organizes seminars, workshops and conferences, on the one hand, and lobbies international processes, on the other.

The significant international conferences organized by ICSF include the

  • International Symposium on Marine Environment and the Future of Fishworkers in Lisbon in 1989;
  • Global Fisheries Trends and the Future of Fishworkers in Bangkok in 1990;
  • the Struggles of Fishworkers: New Concerns for Support, in Cebu in 1994;
  • the Workshop on Gender Perspectives in Fisheries in Senegal in 1996;
  • South Asian Workshop on Fisheries and Coastal Area Management in Chennai in 1996; 
  • Forging Unity: Coastal Communities and the Indian Ocean’s Future in Chennai in 2001;
  • Emerging concerns of fishing communities: Issues of labour, trade, gender, disaster preparedness, biodiversity and responsible fisheries, Brazil, 2006; 
  • Asserting Rights, Defining Responsibilities: Perspectives from Small-scale Fishing Communities on Coastal and Fisheries Management in Asia in Cambodia in 2007;
  • Asserting Rights, Defining Responsibilities: Perspectives of Small-scale Fishing Communities on Coastal and Fisheries Management in Eastern and Southern Africa in Zanzibar, Tanzania, 24 to 27 June 2008;
  • Consolidating and Securing Artisanal Fishing Access and User Rights: The views of  coastal and artisanal fishing communities on fisheries and aquaculture policies, coastal management, access to markets and the conservation of  aquatic biodiversity in Latin America, Punta de Tralca, Chile, 4 to 8 August 2008;
  • Civil society preparatory workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, 11-13 October 2008;
  • Customary Institutions in Indonesia: Do They Have a Role in Fisheries and Coastal Area Management? in Lombok, Indonesia, 2 - 5 August 2009;
  • Recasting the Net: Defining a Gender Agenda for Sustaining Life and Livelihoods in Fishing Communities from 7 to 10 July 2010 in Chennai, India

These conferences were important forums for the artisanal and small-scale fishworkers to highlight their concerns and to influence the broader agenda of ICSF.

Several workshops and seminars are held to influence decision-making processes to better integrate fisheries interests into coastal area management, to emphasize the importance of addressing the gender dimension and to disseminate the content of important international instruments relevant to the fisheries sector, like FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. These processes facilitate an interface between fishworker organizations, policymakers and NGOs.

At the international level, ICSF has influenced decisionmaking at important conferences like the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks and FAO’s Technical Consultation on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. It is now actively participating in the FAO process to develop an international guidelines on small-scale fisheries. ICSF also actively participated in the FAO process for land tenure guidelines, that was adopted in 2012. It has also facilitated the participation of fishworker organizations in these processes.

Through the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA), ICSF actively makes an effort to influence the fisheries access agreements between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Focusing on the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, ICSF campaigns for better conditions of work on board distant-water fishing vessels. Along with other European NGOs, ICSF has influenced the recruitment policy of immigrant workers into the Taiwanese distant-water fisheries.

ICSF also lobbies the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Workers’ Group that represents the interests of the industrial fishermen for the recognition of artisanal and small-scale fishworkers hitherto considered as belonging to the informal sector and hence not recognized as workers eligible for social security benefits.

ICSF also associates with the review of the Ocean’s Chapter of Agenda 21, the Committee on Food Security and the Committee on Fisheries of FAO. It is further studying the impact on fisheries of trade regimes under the Uruguay Round. Also being monitored are the implications of private ecolabelling initiatives for fishworkers in the South.