The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) are the first international instrument dedicated entirely to the small-scale fisheries sector. While the implementation of the SSF Guidelines will require legal and regulatory adjustments beyond national fisheries legislation to ensure political and legislative coherence and fully reflect the breadth of their provisions, the fundamental function of fisheries law in a sustainable use, management, and the development of small-scale fisheries is indisputable.

Appropriate fisheries legislation provides the strongest possible framework for inclusive, participatory fisheries governance and resource management by providing a coherent basis for implementing and enforcing the SSF Guidelines and other related international and regional agreements and commitments. Legislation can therefore be a tangible way to support small-scale fishers, fish workers, and their communities and contribute to broader development goals, including the progressive realization of the right to food, poverty eradication, equitable development, and sustainable resource utilization.

This document, Legislating for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries – A guide and considerations for implementing aspects of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication in National Legislation, is a tool for States to strengthen their fisheries legislation in order to establish conditions for inclusive and sustainable small-scale fisheries development, taking into account the interrelatedness of social, economic and environmental sustainability, while focusing on marginalized groups.