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SSF Guidelines

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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

2nd Small-Scale Fisheries Summit (SSF Summit 2024), Rome, Italy

The SSF Summit 2024 is poised to be a pivotal event that seeks to transform from mere discussions to a collective endeavor, with a common objective: advancing the implementation of the SSF Guidelines. In recognition of the 10th anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), this 2nd SSF Summit is dedicated to not only acknowledging this milestone, but also assessing the current status of the SSF Guidelines implementation at the national, regional and global level to inform future actions. It will serve as a global platform to collaboratively address governance and development challenges in small-scale fisheries while proposing and sharing solutions to foster and strengthen the implementation of the SSF Guidelines. For more details, please visit: https://www.icsf.net/resources/2nd-small-scale-fisheries-summit-ssf-summit-2024-rome-italy/

Resources

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Maharashtra (Mumbai), 15 March 2023

  State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Maharashtra (Mumbai), 15 March 2023     The state-level training workshop, Maharashtra, was co-organized with the Central Institute of Fisheries...

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Gujarat (Bharuch), 12 March 2023

  State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Gujarat (Bharuch), 12 March 2023     The state-level training workshop, Gujarat, was held in Bharuch on 12 March 2023...

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Tamil Nadu (Chennai), 06 March 2023

  State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Tamil Nadu (Chennai), 06 March 2023     The state-level training workshop of Tamil Nadu focusing on mapping and GIS...

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Karnataka (Honavar), 03 March 2023

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Karnataka (Honavar), 03 March 2023     The Karnataka workshop was co-organized with Snehakunja Trust, Honavar, Karnataka, on 3 March 2023....

Workshop on Sea Safety and Fisheries Management: Training and Capacity Development of Local Self-Governments, 01-02 March 2023, Kerala, India

  Workshop on Sea Safety and Fisheries Management: Training and Capacity Development of Local Self-Governments 01-02 March 2023, Kerala, India Organized by ICSF and KILA     The negotiated Voluntary...

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Goa (Vasco), 09 February, 2023

  State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Goa (Vasco), 09 February, 2023     The state-level training workshop, Goa, was co-organized in collaboration with Goenchea Ramponkaracho Ekvott...

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Kerala (Alappuzha), 04 January 2023

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Kerala (Alappuzha), 04 January 2023     The state-level capacity-building training workshop was conducted at Alappuzha in partnership with the Coastal...

Africa Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries, 15-18 February 2023

  Africa Workshop: IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries, 15-18 February 2023 The Africa workshop will be held in Accra, Ghana from 15 to 18 February 2023. The overall...

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, West Bengal (Kolkata), 02 December 2022

  State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, West Bengal (Kolkata), 02 December 2022     The state-level capacity building training workshop in West Bengal was organized at...

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Odisha, (Bhubaneswar), 29 November 2022

State-Level Capacity Development Training Workshop on the SSF Guidelines, Odisha, (Bhubaneswar), 29 November 2022     The Odisha state-level training workshop was held in Bhubaneswar on 29 November, 2022 and...

Legal Reflections on the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines: Building a Global Safety Net for Small-Scale Fisheries by Julia N. Nakamura

The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, endorsed by the Committee on Fisheries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of...

Blue Transformation – Roadmap 2022–2030: A vision for FAO’s work on aquatic food systems

This document outlines a roadmap for the transformation of aquatic food systems – ‘Blue Transformation’, providing a compass for the FAO’s work on aquatic food systems for the period 2022–2030....

Global assessment of COVID-19 on fisheries and aquaculture: COFI-35 session background paper

COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, and years later there remains serious ongoing economic, health, and food system challenges. Global growth is estimated to slow in...

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...