Lake Appeal

A workshop in Tanzania focused on building capacity to improve small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication

This article is by Editrudith Lukanga (elukanga@gmail.com), Executive Director, EMEDO, Tanzania

The Tanzania national capacity-building workshop towards implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) took place at Monarch Hotel, Mwanza, on 31 August and 1 September 2016. It was attended by 52 participants (45 per cent, women), representing a wide spectrum of small-scale fisheries stakeholders, including civil society organizations (CSOs), academia, research institutuions, the government, fisheries training institution, private sector organizations and the women fish processors and traders from the major great lakes of Tanzania, namely; Victoria, Nyasa and Tanganyika. This was the first workshop conducted in the counry since the adoption of the SSF Guidelines by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) at its 31st Session in Rome in June 2014.

The workshop aimed to set a stage for implementing the SSF Guidelines in Tanzania. More than a half of the participants were hearing about the guidelines for the very first time; hence there was a need to first raise awareness to improve understanding of the SSF Guidelines and their guiding principles; and their relevance for resolving some of the issues confronting fishing communities at the intra- and inter-sectoral levels in the inland fisheries in Tanzania as well as to to identify strategies to be put in place in order to implement the SSF Guidelines.

The workshop was organized around plenary presentations and discussions, and working group sessions. There were ten plenary presentations. The first was an overview on the small-scale fisheries guidelines described in the SSF Guidelines, drawing on the 2008 Bangkok Global Conference on Small-scale Fisheries towards securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries, during which the idea for putting a specific focus on small-scale fisheries was conceived, and going forward to June 2014 when the 31st session of COFI endorsed the SSF Guidelines.

The two presentations that followed were meant to give a background to the workshop. They included a feedback on the East Africa Consultation Workshop on improving small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication that was hosted by the FAO Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during 15-18 September 2015. The workshop facilitated an understanding of the principles of the SSF Guidelines and their application in order to support their implementation for sustainable small-scale fisheries at regional and national levels. The third presentation highlighted the important and significant role played by CSOs in the SSF Guidelines development process.

Thematic areas

Of particular interest were the plenary presentations that unpacked the contents of the key thematic areas of the SSF Guidelines, namely,governance of tenure in small-scale fisheries and resource management; social development, employment and decent work; value chains, post-harvest and trade; gender equality; and disaster risks and climate change. The role of research in the implementation of the guidelines was also explored.

Resource materials for capacity-building programmes were developed prior to, and during, the workshop to be used as training tools for future training programmes.

Videos developed with the support of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) were played to aide in raising awareness on (i) the role and place of women in the fisheries value chain, (ii) the challenges that women face and (iii) the efforts in place to improve the situation. The video clips raised a dialogue among workshop participants who acknowledged that they have been powerful tools for training and capacity building towards implementation of the SSF Guidelines. Issues that were aired through the videos are real and reflect the actual situation the women face and therefore efforts are needed to ensure that women in the small-scale fisheries sector get proper recognition and due attention in terms of favourable policies and development that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, through a human-rights-based approach.

A summarized Swahili version of the SSF Guidelines?was also very helpful. Most of the Swahili-speaking participants expressed their appreciation for having the draft Swahili version that would help them give feedback to their organizations.

The the key proceedings of the workshop were filmed, and video clips of interviews highlighting key issues on inland fisheries in Tanzania ?have been produced to be used to promote awareness as training material for future workshops.

In order to further unpack and contextualize the SSF Guidelines’ thematic areas, the participants were divided into six working groups to identify issues, decide what needs to be done, identify responsibilities, and discuss how the SSF Guidelines can be used to improve the situation of small-scale fisheries.

  • Working Group 1: Social development, employment and decent work
  1. What needs to be done to promote the social development of small-scale fishing communities (for example, the coherence amongst agencies/departments, policy development, implementation measures and schemes, and capacity development).
  2. Employment and decent work

What needs to be done to promote decent work across the value chain for all small-scale fishworkers (men and women) in the formal and informal fishery sectors.

  • Working Group 2: Secure tenure rights to land and fisheries (Governance of tenure in small-scale fisheries and resource management)

What needs to be done to strengthen tenure rights of inland and marine small-scale fishing communities to land and water bodies.

  • Working Group 3: Value chain, post-harvest and trade

What needs to be done to enhance women’s role, status and contribution in fisheries and in the fishing/domestic spheres.

  • Working Group 4: Disaster risks and climate change

What needs to be done to strengthen the resilience of SSF communities to climate events and natural disasters.

  • Working Group 5: Gender equality

What needs to be done to improve gender equality in the entire fisheries value chain, and to promote equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes and organizations, as well as in appropriate technologies, and supportive policies and legislations.

How can the SSF Guidelines be used to improve gender equity of small-scale fishers and fishworkers?

  • Working Group 6: Ensuring an enabling environment and supporting implementation

How can the SSF Guidelines be promoted in Tanzania? Can the Union/state government provide a national-level platform with cross-sectoral representation to oversee implementation of the Guidelines? How can these Guidelines be mainstreamed into national and state policies and legislation put in place in relation to food security, poverty elimination and sustainable fisheries management of small-scale fishing communities?

  • Based on the SSF Guidelines, what are the national, specific water-body-level priorities for implementation over the next 10 years that can help eliminate poverty, ensure food security and improve the lives and livelihoods especially of the vulnerable and marginalized groups and women in small-scale fishing communities?
  • What sort of monitoring systems are needed to assess progress towards implementation of the objectives and recommendations in the SSF Guidelines?

All the thematic groups were asked to suggest specific actions for the government (at the national, state and local levels), the CSOs, other institutions, and the communities themselves. They were also asked to identify government departments/agencies that could be involved in using the SSF Guidelines to improve the socioeconomic situation of small-scale fishers and fishworkers.

The discussions revealed a clear appreciation of the significant role played by women in the small-scale fisheries sector, which has not, however, been sufficiently recognized and appreciated. The workshop, therefore, recommended the following measures to implement the SSF Guidelines:

  • Enhance capacity-building on fisheries governance to fisheries sector stakeholders, including policy-makers, implementers and managers, and integrate them into a sector plan.
  • Improve knowledge and support services to implement sound policies and legislation through stakeholders’ participation.
  • Enhance the capacity of fisheries stakeholders to understand the implications of climate change and help them undertake mitigation measures in order to reduce the envisaged impact.
  • Establish village community banks and link them with financial institutions.
  • Invest in technology that improves the quality of fish and reduces post-harvest losses.
  • Allocate adequate funds to support the implementations.
  • Support women to get more organized through establishment of women fisherfolk associations.
  • An appeal needs to be made by the Director, Fisheries Development Division, to the FAO for support.
  • There is need to hold similar workshops to focus on other water bodies, in the light of implementing the SSF Guidelines.

For more

Tanzania Workshop: Implementation of the SSF Guidelines