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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

IYAFA Regional workshop: Getting the story straight and envisioning a fair future for small-scale fisheries in Europe, 13-16 November 2023, Galicia, Spain

Vilanova de Arousa in Galicia, Spain, will host the ‘IYAFA Regional workshop: Getting the story straight and envisioning a fair future for small-scale fisheries in Europe’ on November 13-16. Its key themes include: 1. Creating a positive narrative of small-scale fisheries (SSF) in Europe. 2. Strengthening governance transition and related processes. 3. Strengthening capacities of SSF and support organizations and building alliances. 4. Women’s role in fisheries in the region. The workshop will highlight that the attention to SSF, along with their crucial role as food producers globally, should continue beyond IYAFA 2022. The workshop will include 45 participants from national and regional SSF organizations, networks of women working in fisheries, NGOs and academic institutions from eighteen countries across Europe. For more details, please visit: https://www.icsf.net/resources/europe-workshop-iyafa-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 goal of the workshop is to strengthen the recognition of small-scale fisheries’ crucial contributions to global food security and nutrition, the importance of access rights in the sector, social development and gender equality. The workshop is also an opportunity to take stock of how the SSF Guidelines are being implemented in Africa to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and nutrition, and promote the tenure rights of small-scale fishing communities. The workshop will include 40 participants from community-based organizations, national and international fishworker organizations, networks of women in fisheries, and civil society organizations from across Africa. For more details, please visit: https://www.icsf.net/resources/africa-workshop-iyafa-2023/

Resources

Thirty-fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) on Agenda Item 6: Supporting Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries Statement by ICSF

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We notice that small-scale fisheries (SSF) have an important role in FAO’s Blue Transformation Programme Priority Area. Based on the FAO tool box, its guidance document on applying a human...

Thirty-fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) on Agenda Item 5: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Statement by ICSF

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We agree with the observation that the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies with the current focus on overfished stocks and IUU fishing will have a global positive impact on the...

Report on Asia Workshop – IYAFA 2022: Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries, 4 – 8 May, 2022, The Berkeley Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

International collective in support of fishwokers (ICSF) in partnership with Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) Thailand had organized an International Workshop titled “IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries: Asia” from...

IYAFA 2022 | Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) Summit, 2-4 September 2022

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The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will be conducting a sesson at the Small-Scale Fisheries...

Fisheries Sector Support Schemes in India 2016-2017

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Fisheries Sector Support Schemes in India 2016-2017 compiled by ICSF https://www.icsf.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Fisheries_Schemes_2016_Compiled_ICSF.pdf

Fisheries Sector Support Schemes in India 2019-2020

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Fisheries Sector Support Schemes in India 2019-2020 – Compiled by ICSF https://www.icsf.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Fisheries_Support_Schemes_2018-2019.pdf

FAO – ICSF’s SSF Guidelines implementation project 2018-2019

FAO – ICSF’s SSF Guidelines implementation project 2018-2019 Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Global Products Support the social, economic and environmental transformation of 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,...

Vital Fisheries: Setting pathways for the implementation of International Guidelines for Small-Scale Fisheries in Brazil: Final Report of the National Seminar on Capacity-building for the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Small-scale Fisheries By Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger and Daniele Vila-Nova, 2016

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The seminar had the objective of divulging and stimulating discussions and learning about values, norms and principles contained therein and to enable support for its implementation in Brazil. Its appropriation,...

Oceans and Sustainable Development: Adopting a Human Rights-based Approach in Small-scale Fisheries By Sebastian Mathew, 2015

This presentation given by Sebastian Mathew at the Sixteenth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea highlighted the SSF Guidelines...

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020: Sustainability in action FAO, 2020

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture aims to provide objective, reliable and up-to-date information to a wide audience – policymakers, managers, scientists, stakeholders and indeed everyone interested in the...

Video documentaries from FAO on the International Guidelines on Small-scale fisheries FAO, 2020

This link provides a collection of video documentaries from FAO on the International Guidelines on small-scale fisheries

SSF Guidelines: Governance of tenure and resource management By FAO

This short, animated video gives insights into governance of tenure and resource management in small-scale fisheries. The term “tenure” refers to how rights to natural resources such as land, lakes,...

SSF Guidelines: Social development, employment and decent work By FAO

This video gives insights into issues of social development, employment and decent work in small-scale fisheries. For the rights of fishers and fish workers to be recognized, it is key...

SSF Guidelines: Value chains, post-harvest and trade By FAO

This short, animated video gives insights into value chains, post-harvest and trade in small-scale fisheries in small-scale fisheries. The importance of small-scale fisheries value chains – and the women and...

SSF Guidelines: Disaster risk and climate change By FAO

Small-scale fishing communities are often some of the most vulnerable communities to disaster risks and climate change. This short, animated video shows impacts on small-scale fisheries – and what can...

Guidelines for increasing access of small-scale fisheries to insurance services in Asia: A handbook for insurance and fisheries stakeholders By Tietze U., van Anrooy, R. , FAO, 2019

These Guidelines for increasing access of small-scale fisheries to insurance services provide an important next step in the long-standing cooperation between APRACA and FAO in promoting financial services for small-scale...