back
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

Dedi Adhuri – Tenure rights and small-scale fisheries in Indonesia

ICSF interviewed Dedi Supriadi Adhuri, Senior Researcher at the Research Center for Society and Culture, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Jakarta at “Tenure and User Rights in Fisheries 2018,” organized by…

Social Security for Fishworkers in Brazil: A Case study of Para

This study explores the status of Brazil’s social welfare system for the fisheries sector, from the point of view of democratization of access, the methodologies used and the extent to…

International Legal Instruments Relevant to Fisheries and Fishing Communities: A Handbook

This handbook provides detailed information for a wide range of legal instruments relevant to fisheries and fishworkers. It covers 114 legal instruments, categorized into the following seven themes: Human Rights,…

Social Welfare and Social Security in Sri Lankan Fisheries

The State has been channelling huge amounts of public funds into a number of social welfare and social security measures. However, the emphasis has mainly been on promotional welfare measures,…

Coastal Fisheries And Poverty: The Case of India for International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD )

Available evidence suggests that coastal fishing communities, in general, have lower levels of literacy, a lower sex ratio, and poorer conditions of housing, as compared to State and national averages.…

Under the Sun: the transient fisherfolk of Jambudwip Directed by Rita Banerjee and produced by ICSF, 2003

This film deals with the issues involved in the stake-net fishery of Jambudwip. It traces the genesis of the standoff between the fishworkers and the government, and analyzes the processes…

Proceedings of the Indian Ocean Conference- Forging Unity: Coastal Communities and the Indian Ocean’s Future, 9-13 October 2001, India

The conference attracted people from all around the Indian Ocean, from East Africa to Southeast Asia, and from the southern small island States in the Indian Ocean to South Asia.…

Nets for Social Safety – An Analysis of the Growth and Changing Composition of Social Security Programmes in the Fisheries Sector of Kerala State, India

This study focuses on the growth and changing composition of social security provisions in the fisheries sector of Kerala, a small coastal State in southwest India. It enumerates the achievements…

Coastal Area Management in South Asia A Comparative Perspective: Background Paper for South Asia Workshop on Fisheries and Coastal Area Management, 26 September – 1 October 1996, Madras (Chennai), India

This report explores efforts on coastal area management, more specifically in the South Asian region, and the extent to which the perspectives of actors in the fishery sector have been…

South Asia Workshop and Symposium on Fisheries and Coastal Area Management 26 September – 1 October 1996, Madras (Chennai), India

In the conference in Cebu in 1994, the impact of coastal area degradation on the livelihood of the artisanal and small-scale fishery sector was discussed at length. It was recognized…

Transdisciplinarity for Small-Scale Fisheries Governance

This book argues that policies targeting small-scale fisheries need to be based on a solid and holistic knowledge foundation, and support the building of governance capacity at local, national, and…

Small Nets in a Sea of Change

Working in collaboration with local small-scale salmon and lobster fishermen in the north west of Ireland, this film documents the vitality and history of local fisheries. Rapid industrialization of fisheries…

How do fishery resources enhance the development of coastal fishing communities: Lessons learned from a community-based sea farming project in Taiwan

Community- Based Sea Farming (CBSF) is an important task that warrants continuous attention for enhancing the fishing community development. The experiences and framework of promoting the Taiwan CBSF project would…

Improved Co‐Management of Ayeyarwaddy Wetland Resources

This is a summary of progress achieved in the year 2019 in improved comanagement of wetland resources through campaigns, training, grant aid support etc. https://nagmyanmar.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/SR_2017_07_Mr.-Kenneth_Co-management-in-Ayeyarwaddy-Study-Report-1.pdf

Sustainable development: Oceans and the law of the sea: oceans and the law of the sea, The United Nations, General Assembly – A/73/L.82

2020 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. https://undocs.org/a/73/l.82

Securing sustainable small-scale fisheries: sharing good practices from around the world.

This document contains eight studies showcasing good practices in support of sustainable small-scale fisheries and is expected to inform policy and policy processes as well as promote sustainable small-scale fisheries…

Towards a New Agenda for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries Development

In this book, the author defines a new set of priorities for development of artisanal fisheries. Fourteen inter-related measures are sketched out to move towards a new agenda for sustainable…

Life Above Water: Essays on Human Experiences of Small-Scale Fisheries

pdf-image

This book is a collection of essays, some of them reprinted from publications such as Samudra (ICSF) and Fisheries Magazine (American Fisheries Society) on various aspects of small scale fisheries…

A Human Rights Based Approach to Data – Leaving No One Behind in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Guidance Note to Data Collection and Disaggregation

The 2030 Agenda is to be implemented in a manner consistent with the rights and obligations of States under international law. Deciding whether to pursue disaggregation of indicators is not…

COASTAL COMMONS – A glimpse into the nature and significance of coastal common spaces and resource

pdf-image

This booklet illustrates the importance of these Coastal Commons in the lives of the community in India and briefly discusses the various laws that directly or indirectly provide opportunities in…