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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 São Paulo state, Brazil

The Latin American workshop will be held in São Paulo state, Brazil. 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 details, please visit: https://www.icsf.net/resources/latin-america-workshop-iyafa-2022/

National Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop on the SSF Guidelines at Chennai, 13-15 October 2022

The negotiated Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (the SSF Guidelines) were endorsed by the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at its Thirty-first Session in June 2014. The implementation of the SSF Guidelines is identified as a significant step for enhancing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to nutrition and food security. As part of the implementation process, ICSF Trust is organizing a National Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop at Chennai, from 13-15 October 2022. Key fishworker representatives (One man and one woman) from Andhra Pradesh, Goa , Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are expected to attend the workshop. For more details, please visit: https://www.icsf.net/resources/tot-ssf-guidelines-india-2022/

Resources

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…