Report of the Workshop on International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries. Rome, Italy, 7–10 February 2012.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report. No. 1004. Rome, FAO.
In June 2011, the twenty-ninth Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) recommended the development of international guidelines for small-scale fisheries ("SSF Guidelines"). As part of its strategic development process, the FAO Secretariat is engaging in an extensive consultative process with governments, regional organizations, civil society organizations, and small-scale fishers, fish workers and their communities. In this context, a consultative workshop on International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries was convened in Rome, Italy, on 7–10 February 2012. The workshop brought together about 30 experts from government, regional organizations, civil society and academia to further discuss the structure, overall considerations and thematic coverage of the Guidelines and to consolidate ideas put forth in the regional and national consultations. Advice was given concerning next steps and additional activities in the guidelines development process.
The workshop confirmed the importance of small-scale fisheries as a contributor to poverty alleviation, food and nutrition security, and economic development. The SSF Guidelines should complement the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) and draw on its principles and approaches and the discussions confirmed that the guiding principles of the SSF Guidelines should include good governance and human rights. Additional principles, approaches and frameworks to be referred to include equity, economic viability, ecosystem based, holistic and integrated approaches. Participants encouraged continued and strengthened collaboration and partnerships, both with regard to the development of the SSF Guidelines as well as for their implementation.
The workshop noted the need to build bridges between different stakeholder visions – within the fisheries sector as well as outside – to ensure coherence. A new vision on how to ensure access for small-scale fisheries communities and giving them resource stewardship responsibilities may be needed, reflecting the need for combining livelihood security and environmental sustainability as one cannot be achieved without the other. Participants stressed that the small-scale fisheries sector should not be portrayed as one in need of aid and as being development dependent, but as a real contributor to socio-economic development and livelihood security.
The SSF Guidelines should be a set of ideals to empower the sector and it will be important to create awareness of the potential of small-scale fisheries – if supported and not marginalized – and to build political will at all levels. The workshop agreed that the SSF Guidelines can become a powerful tool in achieving sustainable governance and development of the sector. Support to their implementation will be important, requiring concerted efforts and organizational development and strengthening of capacities at all levels.