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OUR WORK

Right to Resources

The survival of marine and inland fishing communities depends on access to fishing areas, on their collective rights, and adjacent areas for housing fish processing and other community and occupational needs.

Sustainability depends upon effective management of marine and inland fisheries resources. Upon ensuring that overfishing and overcapacity do not degrade the ecological conditions, that they do not harm the breeding stocks of fish. It depends on the collective responsibilities of fishers and fishworkers, regulatory institutions and governments.

ICSF aims to protect and strengthen both collective rights and responsibilities. How? By promoting responsible small-scale fisheries (SSF) through a rights-and-responsibilities framework both in the marine and inland context. By advocating policies that recognize the customary rights and traditional knowledge systems of fishing communities.

With their future dependant on the health of fisheries resources and their distribution, fishers have a great stake in their sustainable management. ICSF programmes help them acquire additional knowledge and skills to adapt their practices to changing conditions. Through training, sound communications and diverse stakeholder involvement—including women, youth, indigenous people marginalized groups—to participate in decision making.

Several ICSF programmes in 2008-2019 analysed, prepared and promoted the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). Along with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the government of Thailand, ICSF organized a civil society preparatory workshop in Bangkok. Before 2008 it held major workshops in Asia (Siem Reap, Cambodia), Eastern and Southern Africa (Zanzibar, Tanzania) and Latin America (Punta de Tralca, Chile).

These events are part of an extensive campaign for secure and equitable tenure rights to fishery resources, not just in the waters but across adjacent land and forests. When fishing rights take into account social and cultural conditions, it helps improve programmes for socioeconomic uplift and environmental protection.

Current Programmes

In light of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (the Tenure Guidelines), the SSF Guidelines and the SDGs, ICSF has initiated the Making the Small-scale Artisanal Fishing Zones Work! campaign to enforce/create small-scale artisanal non-towed fishing gear zones (SFZs) to benefit fishing communities using these gears and practices in a sustainable manner. The campaign seeks coherence between equitable development of fishing communities and conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in at least three countries before 2024.

Although SFZs or similar area designations exist at the informal level in many coastal nations, the formal creation of SFZs at the national and subnational levels in South and Southeast Asia has a history dating back to the 1970s. In India, for example, SFZs have been created at the subnational level since the 1980s. However, there are no recognized tenure rights to the SFZs. The SSF Guidelines are aware that creating exclusive zones alone are meaningless unless secure tenure rights to the fishing grounds, to land and other resources that form the basis for their social and cultural wellbeing are also granted. The enforcement of the formal SFZs also need to uphold conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources. Governments, fishworker organizations and informal institutions such as traditional panchayats (village councils) in India need to recognize the importance of these elements.

In India, ICSF has initiated the campaign in the state of Andhra Pradesh, starting first with the most disadvantaged (fisher and fishworkers engaged in harvest of fish using no craft or non-motorized traditional craft), paying special attention to the SFZs that are adjacent to the low tide line and earmarked for small-scale artisanal fishing communities. In 2020, ICSF completed the survey of literature and data on fishing practices in marine capture fisheries in India and the social development of coastal fishing communities. Through virtual consultations with its local partner in Andhra Pradesh, ICSF completed the design of the study questionnaire and its translation into Telugu, the local language. The survey documents the various characteristics of the fishery (viz., craft and gear combinations, fishing grounds, species, seasons, conflicts between competing user groups and traditional tenure arrangements and systems of resource management); the social development of non-towed fishers and their families; and their perception in relation to securing rights of relevance to these arrangements, especially to defend their access to marine living resources.

This survey is to be undertaken in two more provinces but is delayed due to the COVID-19 situation and will resume as soon as the public health conditions allow to do so. It will then be extended to Sri Lanka and Indonesia in partnership with relevant fishworker organizations or NGOs

Resources

Report on the Responsible Governance of Tenure in Lake Victoria Fisheries

This report aims to determine how responsible governance of tenure can be implemented in accordance with the SSF Guidelines in Lake Victoria, Tanzania. In this study, qualitative and quantitative research…

Traditional knowledge Use for the Sustainable Management of Marine and Fishing Resources

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…

Organizational Arrangements in the Fisheries of Kerala: A Case study of Kerala State Cooperative Federation for Fisheries Development Ltd (Matsyafed) since 90’s in Kerala

Kerala, having only 590 km coast line quiet often became one of the leading fish producing States in India and a record production of 8.4 lakhs tones of fish was…

Inland Fisheries, Food Security and Poverty Eradication: A case study of Bihar and West Bengal

This study is undertaken, to gain some insight into the status of inland fisheries in India, and highlight some of the research lacunae in this sector, in the hope that…

Small-scale Fishing in Central American Indigenous People: Governance, Tenure and Sustainable Management of Marine Resources

This is one of the first studies focusing on indigenous territories, artisanal fisheries and SSF guidelines. The cases are a first approach to discussing and analyzing relevant social and human…

Eyes On Their Fingertips: Some Aspects of the Arts, Science, Technology and Culture of the Fisherfolk of Trivandrum, India

Eyes on Their Finger Tips 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…

A Participatory Study of the Traditional Knowledge of Fishing Communities in the Gulf of Mannar, India – in Tamil

This is the first in a series of case studies undertaken by the ICSF to document the traditional knowledge of fishing communities dependent on marine and coastal resources in protected…

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…

Where Tradition is a way of life: Traditional Knowledge in the U.T of Lakshadweep, India

An attempt is being made to compile and collate the traditional knowledge base existing within the community in the 10 inhabited islands of the coral archipelago in South west India-…

Local knowledge and fishery management: Background study for the 2009 Lombok workshop

This report aims to elaborate some local practices of fishery management in Indonesia, which are based on current local custom as well as local agreement used as the basis of…

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The ever-widening net: Mapping the scale, nature and corporate structures of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by the Chinese distant-water fleet nu EJF

This report presents a comprehensive analysis of China’s vast, opaque and, at times illegal global fisheries footprint, with the specific aim of informing appropriate and effective responses by fisheries decision-makers…

Africa – Regional overview of food security and nutrition 2021: Statistics and trends

Africa is not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 targets to end hunger and ensure access by all people to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all…

Asia-Pacific Fishing Livelihoods

This book centres on an understanding of fishing livelihoods within processes of historical change, and the social and political relationships within which they are embedded. Drawing on our research experience…

Pros and Cons of High Catch Fishing in Traditional Fisheries since 90’s in Kerala

Time line analysis on change in fishing practices of traditional sector before and after 80’s revealed that prior to motorization (before 80’s), the entire coast of Kerala was classified into…

Food and gear loss from selected gillnet and trammel net fisheries of India

This publication is based on an assessment of fish and fishing gear loss from selected gillnet and trammel net fisheries of India. It presents information on the types, causes and…

Changing Sails: Accelerating Regional Actions for Sustainable Oceans in Asia and the Pacific

This study explores the key areas around which regional platforms can rally interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral solutions for the ocean. It highlights the lack of data and statistics on the ocean,…

Proceedings of the International Symposium on Fisheries Sustainability: Strengthening the science-policy nexus

This symposium was held to support the development of a new vision for more sustainable and socially just fisheries, and more resilient to the challenges of the twenty-first century. A…

Something old, something new: Historical perspectives provide lessons for blue growth agendas

Using a case‐study approach based on expert knowledge, we identified 20 historical fisheries or aquaculture examples from 13 countries, spanning the last 40–800 years, which we contend embody blue growth…

Enhancing accountability for small-scale fisher: Using human rights monitoring to guide effective implementation of SDG target 14.b – advanced working draft

The report fills the gap by showing how information and recommendations from human rights monitoring mechanisms can complement existing monitoring. Small-scale fisheries are central to achieving SDG 14 on sustainable…

2020 Blue Economy Report: Blue sectors contribute to the recovery and pave way for EU Green Deal

The EU Blue Economy Report 2020”, providing an overview of the performance of the EU economic sectors related to oceans and the coastal environment. With a turnover of €750 billion…

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