Re: The Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition - E-consultation to set the track of the study

Jacqueline Demeranville FAO, Decent Rural Employment Team, Italy

Issue 1 highlighted for inclusion in the HLPE focuses on the implementation of the FAO “Code of conduct for Responsible Fisheries and Aquaculture”. The HLPE study would benefit by also considering guidelines for sustainable small-scale fisheries, since small scale fisheries and aquaculture make a major difference to food security and nutrition of food insecure people. In this regard, the ongoing process to negotiate the "International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries" should not be ignored.

Regarding issue 3 on key socioeconomic issues affecting the sustainability and development of fisheries and aquaculture for food security, it is important to recognize the need for small-scale fishing communities to have secure incomes, decent working conditions and improved access to social services. Small-scale fishing communities are vulnerable not only to destruction of natural resources, but also to unpredictable income, injury and loss of life. Fishing is recognized as one of the most hazardous occupations and improvements are needed in terms of safety and health as well as access to social protection. Furthermore, fishing communities, especially those in remote locations, often do not have access to quality schools or health services. Child labour and a lack of decent employment opportunities for youth are also challenges facing many small-scale fishing communities that contribute to perpetuating cycles of poverty and food insecurity.

The Decent Work and Employment chapter of the published zero-draft of the International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries provides further guidance on these issues, as does the FAO-ILO guidance document on addressing child labour in fisheries and aquaculture

Additional materials can be found from the “Addressing labour conditions in fisheries and aquaculture: How to tackle child labour and improve working conditions?” FAO-ILO side-event to FAO’s Committee on Fisheries held in July 2012, including national experiences from Thailand, Cambodia and Malawi.

The HLPE study should also look into how youth can be best engaged to contribute to sustainable fisheries management, as well as the challenges faced by youth to engage in the sector beyond involvement in capture fisheries and how these constraints can be overcome. As an example of work in this area, the FAO Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools approach is being adapted for fisheries and aquaculture. Support for youth inclusion in workers’, producers’ and other socio-professional organizations is another important step in the promotion of decent youth employment in fisheries communities, particularly with regard to increasing youth’s access to natural resources, inputs, marketing, information and financial services.

Gender issues should also be systematically considered in the report as both women and men play important and complementary roles in the governance and development of the sector. Their differing roles and conditions of work, health and education as well as constraints in access to resources, information and markets need to be addressed in the adoption of a socially and environmentally inclusive approach to fisheries and aquaculture.