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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

The Indonesia Workshop Report: Indonesia Workshop Report: Customary Institutions in Indonesia: Do They Have a Role in Fisheries and Coastal Area Management?, 2-5 August 2009, Lombak, Indonesia

Sixty delegates from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and India met at Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB, West Nusa Tenggara) province, Indonesia for the workshop on “Customary Institutions in Indonesia:…

The Zanzibar Workshop Proceedings: Asserting Rights, Defining Responsibilities: Perspectives from Small-scale Fishing Communities on Coastal and Fisheries Management in Eastern and Southern Africa, 24-27 June 2008, Zanzibar, Tanzania ICSF, 2008

This report provides a rich understanding of the dynamics of traditional, indigenous, small-scale and artisanal fisheries and fishing communities in the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region including the status…

Sizing up – Property Rights and Fisheries Management: A collection of articles from SAMUDRA Report

Only by recognizing fishing rights that are socially sensitive and address the issues of labour, gender and human rights, can fishing communities, especially small-scale, traditional ones, be assured of social…

Asserting Rights, Defining Responsibilities: Perspectives from Small-scale Fishing Communities on Coastal and Fisheries Management in Asia – Workshop and Symposium proceedings, 3-8 May 2007, Siem Reap, Cambodia

This publication is a record of the proceedings of the Siem Reap Workshop and Symposium. It provides a bottom-up perspective on how rights are understood, and what rights are seen…

Asserting Rights, Defining Responsibilities: Perspectives from Small-scale Fishing Communities on Coastal and Fisheries Management in Cambodia

The studies aimed to document and explore the understanding that fishing communities have about their rights to fisheries and coastal resources, as well as the obligations and responsibilities associated with…

Asserting Rights, Defining Responsibilities: Perspectives from Small-scale Fishing Communities on Coastal and Fisheries Management in Philippines

The studies aimed to document and explore the understanding that fishing communities have about their rights to fisheries and coastal resources, as well as the obligations and responsibilities associated with…

Fishing Communities and Sustainable Development in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA): The Role of Small-scale Fisheries 14 to 17 March 2006, Kurasini Training and Conference Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The report provides details of the discussions by participants, including the group discussions, on issues ranging from co-management and marine protected areas to regional instruments and processes and organizational strategies.…

The Philippines Tuna Industry: A profile

This study deals with the tuna industry in the Philippines, which is among the world’s largest producers of tuna and tuna-like species. Centred around General Santos City, the “tuna capital…

The State of World Fisheries from a Fishworker Perspective: The Ghanaian Situation

This study attempts to better understand the status of artisanal/small-scale fisheries and fishworkers in Ghana. It aims to establish the pre-eminence of the artisanal sector, with the ultimate objective of…

The Right to Survive: Turtle Conservation and Fisheries Livelihood

This film looks at turtle conservation efforts along the coast of the Indian State of Orissa and examines, in parallel, the situation of artisanal fishworkers in turtle conservation areas. By…

Techno-economic performance review of selected fishing fleets in Europe

The findings of European country level studies of fishing fleets of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are presented.…

The 2020 edition of The Global Report on Food Crises

The 2020 edition of The Global Report on Food Crises describes the scale of acute hunger in the world. It provides an analysis of the drivers that are contributing to…

Food security and nutrition: Building a global narrative towards 2030 – A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security

This report articulates a global narrative that builds on what we know about the current situation with respect to food security and nutrition (FSN) concepts, outcomes, drivers and critical policy…

The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY): A scheme to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India

The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) aims to enhance fish production to 220 lakh metric tons by 2024-25 from 137.58 lakh metric tons in 2018-19 at an average annual…

Series 4: A Rights Based Approach to Development: Kerala’s Marine Fishing Communities

Fishermen in Kerala have long been incapable of detecting and resisting exploitation. They could not organize for their common rights. Fishing community has no right over the coastal land, and…

Small-Scale Fisheries in Europe: Status, Resilience and Governance

This book offers a comprehensive account of the status and dynamics of people participating in the small-scale fisheries (SSF) of Europe. It covers the situation of SSF in 25 coastal…

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020: Sustainability in action

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture aims to provide objective, reliable and up-to-date information to a wide audience – policymakers, managers, scientists, stakeholders and indeed everyone interested in the…

Small-scale fisheries (SSF) guidelines: governance of tenure and resource management

This short, animated video gives insights into governance of tenure and resource management in small-scale fisheries. https://www.oceanactionhub.org/small-scale-fisheries-ssf-guidelines-governance-tenure-and-resource-management

Social-ecological Heterogeneity Shapes Resilience of Small-scale Fisheries: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Mexican Chocolate Clam Fishery in Loreto, Mexico

The chocolate clam provides diverse cultural and provisioning values to communities, and management that considers all benefits will be better equipped to account for the needs and knowledge of diverse…

A Governance Toolkit for artisanal fisheries in the Mediterranean

This is a practical collection of 13 sustainable fishery management-related solutions. The Toolkit is ready to be used in any Mediterranean MPA, and will be crucial for setting up policy…