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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

Social Issues in Sustainable Fisheries Management

This volume is an interdisciplinary mix of perspectives and studies on social issues in fisheries from a diverse range of case studies and research disciplines. The case is made regarding…

Report of the Thirty-first Session of the Committee on Fisheries Rome FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report R1101. FAO, 2014

The Thirty-first Session of the Committee on Fisheries was held in Rome from  9–13 June 2014. While commending the new web-based questionnaire on the implementation of the FAO Code of…

Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development United Nations, 2015

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what…

Interactive Governance for Small-Scale Fisheries

Drawing on more than 30 case studies from around the world, this book offers a multitude of examples for improving the governance of small-scale fisheries. Contributors from some 36 countries…

Towards the implementation of the SSF Guidelines: Proceedings of the Workshop on the Development of a Global Assistance Programme in Support of the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. December 8, 2014. Rome, Italy.

In a follow-up to the COFI recommendation, this Workshop was convened by FAO.  Some 60 individual experts from governments, regional organizations, CSOs, NGOs, resource partners, intergovernmental organizations and academia attended…

Report of the Thirty-second Session of the Committee on Fisheries, Rome, 11-15 July 2016 FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report R1167. FAO, 2016

The Thirty-second Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) was held in Rome, Italy, from 11 to 15 July 2016. This is a report of the Session reflecting the discussions…

FAO Policy Series: Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

Nicole Franz, Fisheries Planning Analyst and Yvette Diei Ouadi, Fishery Industry Officer of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department explain the importance of supporting small-scale fishers, fish workers and their…

Pesca Vital: Diretrizes Internacionais para a Valorização da Pesca Artesanal 2016

Small scale fisheries organizations design a strategy to moralize the sectors public policies Representatives of dozens of coastal and marine organizations and small scale fisheries gathered in Brasilia (capital of…

SSF Guidelines – Mekong Perspectives: Mr. Ha Binh Produced by Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) and Federation of Thai Fisher-folk Association (FFF), 2016

Mr. Ha Binh, a small-scale fisher from Quang Loi Commune in Vietnam, explains how the construction of hydropower dams by upstream countries has negatively impacted upon water resources in the…