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OUR WORK

SSF Guidelines

Small-scale and artisanal fisheries contribute about half of global fish catches and employ millions of people. They are often rooted in local communities, providing food security and nutrition, reducing poverty. At a time of great environmental crises, small-scale fisheries provide hope. Yet their interests and contributions are often overlooked.

This gap was finally filled in 2014 in a watershed moment: the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) endorsed the ‘Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication’ (SSF Guidelines). It is the only international instrument dedicated to small-scale fisheries. This set of guidelines directs policy, from the local to the international levels, to support and promote the sub-sector.

The SSF Guidelines provide representation to the marginalized. For their secure tenure over fishing resources and space; for decent conditions of work; for the social development of fishing communities; gender equity and equality; for balancing universal human rights while respecting local conditions and traditions.

It resulted from a long-drawn democratic campaign. In the 1980s, small groups of fishers began voicing their concerns about the social and environmental crisis caused by industrial fishing across developing countries. They began collaborating. ICSF resulted from such partnerships.

The Rio declaration of 1992 had recognized the rights of traditional fishers and their contributions. In 1995 FAO adopted the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF). It recognized the contributions of artisanal fisheries, recommending their preferential access to fishing resources. FAO organized its first global conference of small-scale fisheries in Thailand in 2008.

Thereafter, several workshops hosted over 4,000 participants from 120 nations. In 2011, FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI) recommended an international legal instrument to safeguard the rights of small-scale, artisanal fishers. The next two years were a participatory effort to create a consensus and agree on a final text. The SSF Guidelines were endorsed in June, 2014. The challenge now is for all stakeholders to implement the SSF Guidelines.

For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/site/ssfguidelines/home and https://sites.google.com/site/smallscalefisheries/

Current Programmes

Latin America Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries

Latin America Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries, São Paulo state, Brazil, 22-25 August 2022

The Latin American workshop will be held in São Paulo state, Brazil from 22-25 August 2022. The overall goal of the workshop is to strengthen the recognition of small-scale fisheries’ crucial contributions to global food security and nutrition, the importance of tenure rights in the sector, and social development. The workshop is also an opportunity to take stock of how the SSF Guidelines are being implemented in Latin America to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and nutrition, and promote the tenure rights of small-scale fishing communities. The workshop will include 45 participants from community-based organizations, national and international fishworker organizations, networks of women in fisheries, and civil society organizations from across Latin America and the Caribbean. For more: https://www.icsf.net/resources/latin-america-workshop-iyafa-2022/

Asia Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries

Asia Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries

The Asia workshop is to strengthen the recognition of small-scale fisheries’ crucial contributions to global food security and nutrition, the importance of tenure rights in the sector, and social development. The workshop is an opportunity to take stock of how the SSF Guidelines are being implemented in Asia to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and nutrition, and promote the tenure rights of small-scale fishing communities. The workshop will include 45 participants from community-based organizations, national fishworkers’ organizations, women in fisheries networks, and civil society organizations from 11 South and Southeast Asian countries - including Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam. For more: https://www.icsf.net/resources/asia-workshop-iyafa-2022-celebrating-sustainable-and-equitable-small-scale-fisheries/

Resources

Description of Fisheries Support Schemes during the year (2016-2017) with Number of Beneficiaries and Outlay under the SSF Guidelines’ Categories

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Description of Fisheries Support Schemes during the year (2016-2017) with Number of Beneficiaries and Outlay under the SSF Guidelines’ Categories https://www.icsf.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Fisheries_Schemes_2016_Compiled_ICSF.pdf

Latin America Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries São Paulo state, Brazil, 26 to 29 September 2022

Latin America Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries São Paulo state, Brazil, 26 to 29 September 2022 The Latin American workshop will be held in São Paulo state, Brazil from…

Asia Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries

Asia Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries, 5 to 8 May 2022, Bangkok, Thailand Organized by ICSF and SDF The Asia workshop is to strengthen the recognition of…

National Workshop: SSF Guidelines and Women in Fisheries, India

National Workshop: SSF Guidelines and Women in Fisheries, India, Asha Nivas, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 8 to 10 April 2022 The negotiated Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the…

Report on workshop on enhancing capacities of women fishworkers in India for the implementation of the SSF Guidelines, 21–23 November 2016, Ashoka Hall, Asha Nivas Social Service Centre, Chennai, India By ICSF, 2016

The workshop was proposed as a follow-up to the 2010 workshop, keeping in mind the opportunities presented with the Tenure and SSF Guidelines, changes in the last half decade for…

Preparatory workshops for VG-SSF Guidelines: Reports and statements compilation by ICSF – Volume 2

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Historic Day for Small Scale Fisheries: First ever international instrument dedicated to promoting and defending small scale fisheries adopted by 143 Member States of FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI). Rome, Italy,…

Preparatory workshops for VG-SSF Guidelines: Reports and statements compilation by ICSF – Volume 1

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Historic Day for Small Scale Fisheries: First ever international instrument dedicated to promoting and defending small scale fisheries adopted by 143 Member States of FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI). Rome,…

Re-configuring the small-scale fishery of Kerala State: An initiative to revive the discussions on the relevance of the small-scale fishery and the challenges it currently faces in Kerala State. By ICSF, 2016

The initiative was composed of (a) making a summary of the VGSSF in the local language (b) conducting discussions and brief studies about some challenges being faced by the SSF…

Social relations and dynamics shaping the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Small-scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines) in South Africa By Jackie Sunde, ICSF, 2016

This research has highlighted the importance of contextual analyses of social relations of power prior to the implementation of the SSF Guidelines. https://www.icsf.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/930.ICSF151.pdf

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Report of the Third Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. Brussels, Belgium, 31 May − 4 June 2021

The Parties discussed the results of the questionnaire for the review and assessment of the effectiveness of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), agreeing that the questionnaire was a useful…

The 1989 FAO Standard Specification for the Marking and Identification of Fishing Vessels – use and options for review

The main conclusion of this study is that the identification and marking of fishing vessels and the compiling and maintaining of this information in accessible national, regional and global records…

Addressing Climate Change in Fisheries and Aquaculture: Reporting on Progress and Action Plan for the Implementation of the FAO Strategy on Climate Change 2022-2031

This document provides an overview of the intersessional work carried out by FAO on climate change in relation to fisheries and aquaculture. It reports on normative work in response to…

Report of the Eleventh Session of the COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, 24-27 May 2022

The Eleventh Session of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture of the FAO Committee on Fisheries was held virtually in Rome, Italy, from 24 to 27 May 2022. The Sub-Committee commended FAO’s…

FAO’S contribution of fisheries and aquaculture towards achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development: Thirty-fifth session Committee on Fisheries, 5–9 September 2022

This document provides an overview of the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The progress and challenges in this regard are discussed, with…

The International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) 2022: Thirty-fifth Session Committee on Fisheries, 5–9 September 2022

This document summarizes the objectives, governance, celebrations, and achievements of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) 2022. It complements documents COFI/2022/4 and COFI/2022/Inf.9 on supporting small-scale and…

Bibliography of FAO resources in support of the implementation of the SSF Guidelines

This paper provides a list of the papers and reports published by FAO and partners in the context of implementing the SSF Guidelines since the Committee’s Thirty-fourth Session in February…

Supporting small-scale and artisanal fisheries: Thirty-fifth session Committee on Fisheries, 5–9 September 2022

This document provides additional information in relation to documents COFI/2022/4 and COFI/2022/4.1 on “Supporting Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries” and the “International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) ” respectively,…

Safety at sea, social protection and decent work in fisheries and aquaculture: Thirty-fifth Session Committee on Fisheries, 5–9 September 2022

This document provides a summary of recent FAO activities that support the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries with regard to safety at sea, social protection and…

Resources in support of the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication: Thirty-fifth Session Committee on Fisheries, 5–9 September 2022

This document summarizes achievements of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Division to support sustainable marine and inland small-scale and artisanal fisheries governance and development. It reports on progress in implementing the…

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