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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

2022

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/

2021-2022

The new phase complements the completed project in 9 countries especially to train indigenous youth in Brazil, to animate national platforms of small-scale fisheries actors in Ghana, to raise awareness about the SSF Guidelines among small-scale fisheries actors, to establish linkages with other small-scale fisheries initiatives in Nigeria that are working in partnership with FAO at the national and regional level and to organize awareness and capacity development training workshops, formation of women’s platform, and development of information materials.

Resources

Implementing the voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication (SSF Guidelines): perspectives of the fishers and fishworkers on the east coast of India By Venkatesh Salagrama, 2015

This report is the outcome of a series of six fishworkers’ consultations, organised to discuss the relevance and implementation of FAO’s Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines (SSF Guidelines), and my sincere thanks…

Rights First, rights forever: Small-scale fisheries and fishing communities from a human-rights perspective, A collection of articles from Samudra report By ICSF, 2014

The SSF Guidelines hope to promote a human-rights-based approach to fisheries development and management as well as the use of aquatic, coastal, riparian and lakeshore space. The vicissitudes of the…

Report of the Workshop and symposium on Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries: Towards FAO Guidelines on Marine and Inland Small-Scale Fisheries, 19-21 September 2011, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

The workshop was the first in a series of consultations around the world organized to discuss the Voluntary Guidelines on Small-scale Fisheries (VGSSF) and propose measures, keeping in mind the…

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 held from 3-8 May 2007, Siem Reap, Cambodia by ICSF, 2007. It provides a bottom-up…

Report of the International Conference of Fishworkers, and their Supporters, Rome, July 4–8, 1984

This report documents the international conference of fishworkers and their supporters that took place in Rome, Italy from July 4-8, 1984. The conferences was an historical event, fishworkers the main…

Infographic Video on SSF Guidelines

This video gives a brief overview of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (the SSF Guidelines), adopted by member…

Workshop to introduce the FAO voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication (VG-SSF) in Tanzania.

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The workshop involved participants from different locations and at different levels from policy makers to local people engaging in protecting their fisheries. It was expected that the workshop would raise…

National Workshop on Capacity-building for the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines)

The workshop organized by the ICSF—in collaboration with World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) and World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers (WFF), Centro Internazionale Crocevia (CIC) with support…

Report of WFF-WFFP-ICSF-CIC National Workshop on Capacity-building for the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines), Multi-Purpose Hall, India International Centre, New Delhi, 21-22 March 2016

The workshop was organized by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)—in collaboration with World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) and World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers…

Supporting the implementation of the SSF Guidelines: Report from the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress, October 22-26, 2018, Chiang Mai, Thailand By Kerezi, V., et al.

The report was based on the notes taken from various congress sessions on the roles of government in the implementation of the SSF Guidelines (Policy Day), regional roundtable discussions (Action…

Securing sustainable small-scale fisheries: sharing good practices from around the world By Westlund, L. & Zelasney, J. eds. FAO, 2019

This document includes eight studies showcasing good practices in support of sustainable small-scale fisheries. FAO commissioned these studies aiming to share experiences and promote the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines…

The International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 FAO, 2019

The UN General Assembly has declared 2022 the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022). The Year aims to focus world attention on the role that small-scale fishers,…

Transdisciplinarity for Small-Scale Fisheries Governance By Chuenpagdee, Ratana, Jentoft, Svein (Eds.), Springer 2019

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…

Illuminating hidden harvests: The contribution of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development By WorldFish, FAO and Duke University. 2018

Encompassing the pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting sectors of inland and marine fisheries, the new study asks the questions: 1) what are the social, environmental, economic and governance contributions of small-scale…

Artisanal fishing guidelines: “Countries are not at the same level, we are always looking for … Senegal has played its role fully” By Dakaractu, 2018

A regional consultation on the Artisanal Fisheries Directives, coupled with the 5th meeting of the Artisanal Fisheries Working Group of the Fisheries Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic. Ndiaga Guèye,…

Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries: Gender Equity and Equality By FAO, 2018

These short animated video trigger awareness and discussion about gender equality in small-scale fisheries. One of the goals of the SSF Guidelines is helping to challenge gender-discriminatory laws, policies, customs…

Empowering small-scale fisheries: Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication By FAO, 2018

These short animated video trigger awareness and discussion about key challenges faced by small-scale fishing communities. It introduces ways to address those challenges, as well as the Voluntary Guidelines for…

Report of the Thirty-third Session of the Committee on Fisheries Rome, 9–13 July 2018 FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report R1249. FAO, 2018

The Thirty-third Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) was held in Rome, Italy, from 9 to 13 July 2018. This is a report of the Session reflecting the discussions…

Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security

The objective of the Voluntary Guidelines is to provide practical guidance to States in their implementation of the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of…