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11.11.2013 - 03.12.2013

Implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

Following the recommendation of the 29th Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), FAO engaged in a consultative process to support the development of an international instrument for small-scale fisheries. The text of this instrument, the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), is now being negotiated by FAO member states with the intention to present a final document to COFI in 2014 for approval.

While the official endorsement of the SSF Guidelines of course is of critical importance, the real challenge lies in their implementation: the SSF Guidelines will only become effective if their provisions are put into practice. Accordingly, the 30th Session of COFI ‘agreed on the need to develop implementation strategies for the SSF Guidelines at various levels’. The SSF Guidelines implementation will be a collaborative undertaking that requires concerted efforts by all to be successful.

The FAO SSF Guidelines Secretariat is committed to continue the promotion of collaboration and engagement by all stakeholders. We would hence like to invite you to this e-consultation to share your experiences and views on how the SSF Guidelines could be implemented effectively following their adoption by the FAO Committee on Fisheries in June 2014. The outcome of the e-consultation will provide inputs for the FAO Secretariat to draft a holistic and inclusive global assistance programme taking your lessons learnt, best practices, plans and expectations into account. The e-consultation will also allow for a broad based sharing of knowledge and experiences among partners and stakeholders to support effective implementation of the SSF Guidelines. 


We would like to hear your experiences and views with regard to three related topics:

  1. Partnering for implementation – roles of different actors and stakeholders
  2. Information and communication – promoting experience sharing and collaboration
  3. Challenges and opportunities – needs for support and interventions

With a view to inspire discussion, some questions and initial thoughts and guiding questions on these three topics are presented below. Background information and links to relevant documents related to the SSF Guidelines, their context and the process by which they have been developed, are also given.

We look forward to your insights and contributions and thank you in advance for your time!

The FAO SSF Guidelines Secretariat


  1. Partnering for implementation

The implementation of the SSF Guidelines will require engagement and partnerships across different institutions, organizations and actors as the SSF Guidelines implementation does not only require the involvement by fishers but takes into consideration also the role and needs of those around them. Fishing communities, CSOs, academia, NGOs, governments, regional organizations, donors and international agencies and organizations all need to work together - but different actors may have different roles to play to address issues in relation to fisheries governance, gender, post-harvest, consumer interests, wider societal interests, etc. Please share any experiences, both good or bad as well as lessons learned related to partnerships in the implementation of international instruments

  • How do you see the role of your organization and others in the implementation of the SSF Guidelines?
  • How can partnerships be fostered and strengthened to include the ‘voices of the marginalized?
  • What will be required at local, national, regional and global levels to ensure effective and efficient partnerships?
  1. Information and communication – promoting experience sharing and collaboration

Continuous learning and sharing of experiences will be of utmost importance for effective implementation. Available lessons learnt, best practices and tools should be used and reinventing the wheel avoided, but at the same time the local context may differ to such a degree that specific tools and solutions must be developed. Monitoring of progress will be important to keep track of what is working (and what is not) and participatory monitoring and evaluation systems and relevant statistics can help making information available and shared.

  • What best practices with regard to communication would you recommend for SSF Guidelines implementation at local, national, regional and global level?
  • What are your experiences from participatory monitoring and evaluation?
  • How can progress in implementing the SSF Guidelines be measured and reported in a useful way?
  1. Challenges and opportunities – needs for support and interventions

There will be implementation challenges (e.g. financial, political, institutional, cultural) to address but also opportunities to capitalize on. These may vary from one context to another and also differ between the global, regional, national and local levels. Understanding these challenges and opportunities will be important for identifying and designing support activities. The implementation of the SSF Guidelines will need a mix of different types of interventions, including – but not necessarily limited to – the strengthening of political commitment and awareness raising, changes in policies, revisions of legislation and/or regulations, development of capacity and empowerment, improving and sharing information, and strengthened research and communication.

  • What do you think the main implementation challenges are, generally as well as in a specific country context, and how could they be overcome?
  • What are your experiences of addressing these types of challenges and what have been successful or unsuccessful strategies and approaches?
  • How would interventions vary, depending on the time frame (e.g. what can be done within the next 12 months, in the next 5 years, in the long term) and depending on the existing resources (e.g. small/medium investments or large/transformative investments)?

This discussion is now closed. Please contact for any further information.

Dr. Marc Millette Regroupement des Écoles de Pêche Francophones, Canada

L’application des Directives Internationales sur les Pêches Artisanales Durables démontre l’importance primordiale qu’il est nécessaire d’accorder à la formation dans le secteur de la pêche et de l’aquaculture. Qu’il s’agisse d’utiliser des techniques orientées vers une pêche plus responsable, d’habiliter les pêcheurs à participer à la gestion de la ressource ou de favoriser l’insertion économique des femmes dans l’industrie, la formation constitue l’une des stratégies à privilégier pour une mise en œuvre réussie des Directives.

Tous les acteurs du secteur sont ici concernés : pêcheurs artisans, femmes transformatrices et commerçantes, décideurs politiques, formateurs et directions d’établissements d’enseignement, ONG, institutions d’épargne et de crédit, fabricants d’embarcations, fournisseurs d’équipement, donateurs, organismes de conservation, etc. C’est en investissant dans la formation que le secteur pourra pleinement contribuer à l’économie nationale et qu’une exploitation durable des ressources halieutiques sera possible.

La formation en pêches n’est pas seulement affaire d’institution d’enseignement, mais aussi d’industrie et de collectivité. Elle requiert par exemple le soutien de l’industrie pour que la formation recrée ce qui est demandé sur le marché du travail et que les diplômés y réalisent leur plein potentiel, en assumant des tâches plus mobilisatrices et plus significatives. La formation en pêches nécessite aussi le support des autorités nationales afin qu’elles encadrent et soutiennent les écoles de pêche et qu'elles en facilitent l'accès.

Valoriser la formation est nécessaire pour une application efficace et durable des Directives Internationale sur les PAD.

Gaoussou Gueye Confédération africaine des Organisations ...
FSN Forum

Mise en œuvre des lignes directrices de la FAO pour une pêche artisanale durable

[translation in English attached, Ed.]

Point de vue de Gaoussou Gueye, Secrétaire général de la Confédération africaine des Organisations professionnelles de pêche artisanale – CAOPA

Du point de vue des organisations professionnelles de pêche artisanale représentées par la CAOPA, la mise en œuvre des lignes directrices doit se faire en concertation avec les acteurs de la pêche artisanale, et de façon cohérente tant au niveau de la future stratégie de l’Union africaine pour la pêche et l’aquaculture (qui sera présentée en février prochain lors de la deuxième Conférence des Ministres africains de la Pêche), qu’au niveau des politique nationales et régionales menées par nos états.

Nous pensons qu’il y a une opportunité à saisir aujourd’hui pour l’Union africaine et les pays d’Afrique afin de, à travers la mise en oeuvre des lignes directrices, renforcer l’application du code de conduite de la FAO pour une pêche responsable.

De notre point de vue, les enjeux suivants sont les principaux éléments qui devront être pris en compte dans la mise en œuvre des lignes directrices dans les politiques panafricaines, régionales et nationales:

  1. Le maintien des communautés côtières, la sécurité alimentaire des populations et la contribution que peut y apporter la pêche artisanale, en particulier les femmes actives dans le secteur, est un enjeu stratégique pour l’Afrique.

Il y a deux aspects importants à examiner dans ce contexte:

Le premier est la question de l’accès aux ressources qui sont à la base de la sécurité alimentaire (comme les petits pélagiques), les interactions/conflits entre les différentes flottes (artisanales et industrielles, locales et érangères) et le développement de politiques d’allocation de l’accès qui protègent et garantissent des droits d’accès de la pêche artisanale aux ressources, en particulier contre le processus d’accaparement des ressources marines par la privatisation des droits d’accès.

Le deuxième aspect à considérer concerne les enjeux de la contribution de la pêche à la sécurité alimentaire, avec des réformes nécessaires au niveau des politiques commerciales (obstacles tarifaires et non tarifaires au commerce régional des produits de la pêche artisanale); pour une reconnaissance du rôle des femmes de la pêche artisanale pour l’approvisionnement des différents marchés. L’objectif de ces politiques doit être la complémentarité entre commerce local/régional et commerce international. Il faut aussi promouvoir utilisation d’(éco) labels pour promouvoir les produits de la pêche artisanale.


2.  L’aménagement concerté de la zone côtière et la co-gestion des pêcheries

Même s’il y a de nombreuses déclarations de nos états pour mettre en place une pêche durable, nos états n’ont souvent pas développé de plans de gestion concrets pour nos ressources, élaborés et mis en place de façon participative (co-gestion), qui puissent permettre de pérenniser une activité de pêche artisanale durable et des moyens de vie pour nos communautés. Le rôle des Aires Marines Protégées est à examiner dans ce cadre.

Il faut aussi développer une stratégie et des politiques pour que la pêche artisanale, qui actuellement cible surtout les ressources côtières, souvent surexploitées, puisse à terme développer ses activités plus loin des côtes. Cela signifie par exemple revoir la législation pour augmenter la taille de la zone réservée à la pêche artisanale et mieux la protéger contre, par exemple, les incursions des chalutiers. D’autre part, la zone côtière de nos pays est de plus en plus occupée par d’autres activités que la pêche (tourisme, développements industriels, exploitation pétrolière et gazière, etc), qui poussent hors des plages pêcheurs et femmes transformatrices.

Il faut que la protection de la zone réservée à la pêche artisanale intègre ces aspects, et qu’une gestion de la zone côtière concertée se mette en place, où la pêche artisanale joue un rôle central.

Il faut aussi prévoir qu’à terme, la pêche artisanale puisse se développer sur des pêcheries plus au large, pour les thonidés par exemple, afin que nos pays et nos communautés puissent en retirer plus de bénéfices.


3. La transparence dans les politiques d’accès aux ressources et les programmes d’aide au développement

Le manque de transparence dans les politiques de pêche africaine, notamment dans l’allocation des licences et autorisations de pêche, entraîne la surexploitation des ressources, préjudiciable aux communautés côtières. La transparence à cet égard doit devenir la règle, et doit favoriser une participation informée des acteurs, en particulier des communautés de pêche artisanale. Une plus grande transparence est également un outil important de lutte contre la pêche INN, qui est florissante lorsque l’opacité et la corruption sont la règle.

D’autre part, il y a de nombreux projets d’appui au secteur, y compris de la pêche artisanale (ONG, Banque mondiale, UE, etc). Jusqu’à présent, il n’y a pas beaucoup de résultats tangibles pour nos communautés. La transparence là aussi doit être améliorée dans les futures politiques, comme base de la participation des bénéficiaires de ces projets, les communautés côtières, à la définition, la mise en oeuvre et l’évaluation de ces projets.


4. L’aquaculture

Des politiques doivent être mises en place pour développer une aquaculture à petite échelle, basée sur la culture d’espèces non carnivores (c’est-à-dire qui ne dépendent pas des stocks de poissons sauvages pour la farine de poisson), et avec l’objectif principal de renforcer la sécurité alimentaire des populations africaines.


Obstacles à la mise en œuvre des lignes directrices

Un gros problème est le manque de capacités au niveau des états, qui est du en partie au manque de synergie entre les différentes institutions, qui souvent, font leur travail dans leur coin, répétant ce que d’autres font. Il faut une meilleure coordination entre ces institutions, ce qui devrait améliorer les capacités.

Il y a aussi parfois des problèmes dans le mandat donné aux institutions.

Pour la gestion des stocks partagés, comme les sardinelles en Afrique de l’Ouest, aucune institution régionale n’a aujourd’hui de mandat pour avoir les compétences de gestion régionale de ces stocks, alors que c’est une priorité. Ce serait aussi important de réfléchir à partir des grands écosystèmes de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, car la gestion régionale devrait se faire à partir de ces écosystèmes.

Beaucoup de pêcheries artisanales sont transfrontalières, et parfois, cela provoque des conflits. Des outils sont à mettre en place pour mieux gérer ces pêcheries transfrontalières et prévenir/gérer les conflits. La CAOPA propose par exemple la mise en place de commissions mixtes de professionnels artisans des pays considérés, sur l’exemple de la commission mixte des professionnels artisans de Mauritanie et du Sénégal

Il y a un manque réel de capacité au niveau de la recherche (manque de personnel, statut peu valorisé, mais aussi pas de collaboration pêcheurs/chercheurs). Une recherche participative pourrait améliorer la qualité des données et des avis scientifiques. De la même manière, une surveillance participative est à encourager, pour permettre de mieux lutter contre la pêche INN (incursion de chalutiers notamment) dans la zone côtière.


4. Quel rôle peut jouer la pêche artisanale africaine dans la mise en œuvre des lignes directrices

Actuellement, dans la plupart des pays africains, la pêche artisanale reste un secteur marginalisé dans la prise de décision, du au manque de reconnaissance de son potentiel comme moteur de développement durable.

La CAOPA, qui est constituée uniquement d’organisations professionnelles de la pêche artisanale, veut donner une réponse à cet enjeu, en faisant entendre la voix des professionnels, hommes et femmes de la pêche artisanale, pour une meilleure prise en compte de la pêche artisanale au niveau des politiques de nos états. L’existence même des lignes directrices peut nous aider à le faire.

Mais pour nous permettre de jouer ce rôle, les professionnels de la pêche artisanale, hommes et femmes, doivent être reconnus comme interlocuteurs directs des décideurs.

Des mécanismes doivent être mis en place pour qu’il y ait une réelle participation de tous et toutes les professionnels.

La société civile est aussi un interlocuteur essentiel pour la gestion des pêches. Mais il faut toujours bien prendre en compte qu’il y a une différence entre ceux qui vivent de la pêche (les pêcheurs, les femmes transformatrices, etc) et ceux qui n’en vivent pas (ONG, etc). A ce point de vue, il faudrait donner une attention plus grande aux consommateurs de poisson dans nos pays, car eux aussi, ont besoin du poisson pour vivre.

Les médias, comme le REJOPRAO (Réseau des Journalistes pour une Pêche responsable en Afrique de l’Ouest), ont également un rôle important à jouer pour permettre qu’il y ait un vrai débat public sur la mise en œuvre des lignes directrices, sur les choix de modèles de développement de nos pêcheries, et sur la place à donner à la pêche artisanale durable.

Rita Gomes Correira Funny , Brazil


Voilà mon petit travaille sur ssf consultation.


Dr. Rosie Cooney IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (CEESP/SSC), ...

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on implementing the SSF Guidelines. I am attaching the comments of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)'s Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) and Fisheries Expert Group (FEG). Our input and suggestions focus particularly on 1. Partnering for Implementation, but are also highly relevant to 3. Challenges and Opportunities, as they highlight three key areas that we think would benefit from focused analysis and information-sharing. 

Best regards, 
Rosie Cooney

See the attachment:IUCN SULi/FEG input
Jessica Landman Senior Project Director, United States of America

Dear Ms. Westlund,

Attached please find the comments of the Environmental Defense Fund on “Implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries.” We appreciate the opportunity to share our views.

Thanks very much,

Jessica Landman
Senior Project Director

Environmental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
T 202 572 3249
C +1 301 312 4193
F 202 234 6049
Skype jclh2o

Héctor Bacigalupo , Chile


En primer lugar agradezco la oportunidad de participar en la discusión y análisis de las Directrices de la pesca de pequeña escala.  Le envío algunos breves comentarios que espero sean de alguna utilidad y quedo a su disposición para cualquier otra cosa que Ud estime le pueda contribuir.

Solo lamento no haber tenido más tiempo para desarrollar más conceptos.

Cordiales saludos

Héctor Bacigalupo


Implementación de las Directrices Voluntarias para lograr la sostenibilidad de la pesca en pequeña escala

Un comentario general sobre las directrices.  Estimo que el primer lugar y la mayor preocupación de las Directrices lo debe tener la sustentabilidad de los recursos. Esto resulta esencial por cuanto tiende a minimizar la capacidad extractiva de los pescadores, que son unidades de pesca muy eficaces. Y el peor elemento para su desarrollo social y económico lo representa la sobre explotación de los recursos.  Todos los demás apoyos deben ser complementarios a la sustentabilidad de las pesquerías. Sin sustentabilidad no hay pesquería.  Esto debe ser especialmente relevante en un foro como FAO, que vela por la sustentabilidad de los recursos y la disponibilidad alimentaria.  Es un tema difícil de abordar porque existen países donde los medios tecnológicos y el potencial de pesca es limitado y las capturas bajas o nulas, pero existen otros donde las capacidades de pesca son elevadas, existe un sobre esfuerzo de pesca y ya existen muchas pesquerías sobre explotadas.  Incluso en estos últimos casos los pescadores igual necesitan apoyo para lograr su desarrollo socio económico, pero la mirada sobre el estado de los recursos y un adecuada administración pesquera debe estar presente siempre.

  1. Asociaciones para la implementación
  • ¿Cómo ve el papel de su organización y de otros en la implementación de las Directrices PPE?
  • ¿Cómo pueden fomentarse y reforzarse las asociaciones para incluir las “voces de los marginados”?
  • ¿Qué se requiere a nivel local, nacional, regional y mundial para asegurar asociaciones eficaces y eficientes?

Estimo que para lograr el desarrollo de la pesca de pequeña escala es esencial que existan organizaciones de primer nivel en cada caleta o comunidad, que actúen con unidad, fuerza y liderazgo.  Algunas de estas cosas no son fáciles de conseguir y menos en todos los casos.  Sin embargo es algo esencial.

Muchas veces los pescadores aprenden más con un ejemplo horizontal que vertical, es decir que en aquellos lugares donde no haya organización o liderazgos, se puede recurrir al ejemplo de los liderazgos de otros pescadores y/u organizaciones de pescadores cercanas. 

También ayuda mucho la posición del gobierno y su compromiso real con el desarrollo.  Algunos gobiernos podrían no querer tener organizaciones fuertes, elemento que debe ser considerando.  Si este problema no existe, el gobierno debiera promover la organización estableciendo beneficios que serán canalizados a través de las organizaciones locales de pescadores u otorgados solo a las organizaciones.  En Chile se hace esto con la administración de la infraestructura y equipamiento de las caletas y con las áreas de manejo y explotación de recursos bentónicos y fue un efectivo incentivo para que los pescadores se organizaran si deseaban alcanzar estos beneficios.

En cuanto a las ONG’s, que podrían tener un rol importante en este proceso, es un tema complejo por la alta heterogeneidad que tienen, tanto de objetivos como de conformación (infraestructura, personal, institucionalidad, etc).  Es muy usual que algunas ONG’s terminen imponiendo SUS objetivos y no los que realmente los pescadores necesitan o sienten, o bien pueden quedarse con una buena parte de los recursos financieros del programa de apoyo, que siempre deberían llegar mayoritaria y directamente a los pescadores.  Una buena ONG debería mostrar los comportamientos identificados (participación real y efectiva de los pescadores, respeto a las ideas de los pescadores, confianza en la capacidad de los pescadores, promover y potenciar las capacidades de éstos, etc).

  1. Información y comunicación - promover el intercambio de experiencias y la colaboración
  • ¿Qué mejores prácticas en materia de comunicación recomendaría para la implementación de Directrices PPE a nivel local, nacional, regional y mundial?
  • ¿Cuáles son sus experiencias de seguimiento y evaluación participativos?
  • ¿Cómo se puede medir e informar del progreso en la implementación de las Directrices PPE de manera útil?

Estimo indispensable que, para que sea efectiva,  la participación sea “real”.  Muchas veces, la mayoría o casi siempre, los gobiernos consultan por obligación y no por convicción.  Las consultas se hacen al final del proceso, o al menos cuando ya existe un primer borrador.  Esto es equivocado, porque se parte con prejuicios de los “expertos” (gobierno, academia, etc) y luego  se consulta a los pescadores. La mayoría de las veces se trata de convencerlos que lo que se ha decidido es bueno, porque es difícil aceptar enmiendas en los informes ya realizados.

La verdadera participación, real y eficaz, es cuando se hace desde el inicio del proceso, con una hoja en blanco, en conjunto con los pescadores.  Esto requiere confiar en los pescadores, confiar en sus capacidades, en que tienen capacidades, botar el asistencialismo que todos los expertos tienen.  Los pescadores siempre tienen algo que decir desde su experiencia, que puede resultar valioso.  Y cuando no es valioso, el experto deberá tener las capacidades para convencerlo porque su idea es mejor.  En cualquier caso, el resultado es producto de un trabajo realmente participativo, conjunto, desde cero, y el pesador hace suyo el documento, las ideas, y habrá más compromiso y esfuerzo para su puesta en marcha.

De nuevo debería ocuparse el método de transferencia horizontal, aprovechando los conocimientos y experiencia de los liderazgos de pescadores más aventajados.

Debe haber un “acompañamiento” de las actividades.  Muchas veces, los programas contemplan la primera actividad y no las siguientes… perdiéndose mucho esfuerzo y financiamiento, por no diseñar desde el inicio las necesarias actividades de seguimiento, periódicas, evaluables, desde el inicio y hasta la medición de objetivos y evaluación del proyecto/programa.

  1. Retos y oportunidades - necesidades de apoyo e intervenciones
  • ¿Cuales cree que son los principales problemas para la implementación, de forma general, así como en el contexto específico de cada país, y cómo pueden superarse?
  • ¿Cuáles son sus experiencias al abordar este tipo de problemas y qué estrategias y enfoques han tenido éxito o no?
  • ¿Cómo deberían variar las intervenciones, en función del período de tiempo (por ej. qué se puede hacer durante los próximos 12 meses, en los próximos 5 años, a largo plazo) y en función de los recursos existentes (por ej. inversiones en pequeña/mediana escala o inversiones a gran escala/transformadoras)?

Desafortunadamente creo que no es sencillo. Se requieren liderazgos firmes tanto a nivel nacional como local a nivel gubernamental, además de la decisión política de apoyar y eficacia en el actuar de las entidades gubernamentales. 

Una coordinación total con las organizaciones nacionales, regionales y locales de pescadores de pequeña escala es indispensable.  Idealmente sería contar con cuadros técnicos propios de las organizaciones locales o al menos regionales de pescadores. En caso de no existir, sería bueno que los gobiernos consideraran su financiamiento, aunque su dependencia debe ser total y exclusivamente de las organizaciones de pescadores. Deben ser técnicos en pesca, que trabajen directamente en la caleta, bajo el mando de la organización y sean un canal de coordinación con los técnicos del gobierno.  Deberían generar nuevos proyectos o negocios para la caleta o comunidad de pescadores.

Se debe confiar en las capacidades de los pescadores y en su propio rol sobre su desarrollo. No les puede ser impuesto desde arriba, en un estilo académico. Debe haber convicción desde las bases.  Los pescadores tienen altas capacidades, que ponen a prueba todos los días tomando decisiones para alcanzar sus capturas y manejar sus medios económicos.  Se debe confiar en ellos, promover y potenciar sus capacidades, hacerlos partícipes de su proceso de desarrollo.   Esto es un gran desafío para los gobiernos y las ONG’s normalmente con una mirada mucho más asistencialista.

Mr. Arthur Bull Bay of Fundy Marine Resource Centre, Canada

Dear Lena Westlund,

The Bay of Fundy Marine Resource Centre (MRC) is a community-based institution based in Nova Scotia, Canada. Although the MRC not a national small-scale fishers (SSF) organization, it has been involved in facilitating Canadian participation in international fisheries policy since 1998, including the FAO Guidelines process. The MRC is also active in linking SSF organizations internationally though the Small-Scale Fisheries Learning Circles Project, with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The MRC respectfully submits the following points to the discussion on implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries. These points are based on the premise that implementation of the Guidelines is not only matter for state governments, but also must include the participation of grassroots SSF organizations.

1)    Full support for all the points made in the joint submission from civil society groups, made up of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), the World Forum of Fisher Harvester and Fishworkers (WFF) and the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP).

2)   A recommendation that the implementation include innovative use of the learning network model, as a way for SFF organizations to share approaches and strategies for implementation of the Guidelines. To this end, the MRC’s SSF Learning Circles Project is developing a model for the creation of SSF learning network that consists of Skype workshops that are recorded, transcribed and posted on a website along with resources. This project, which will run into 2015, will also be available to create a web-based learning circle aimed at sharing implementation strategies.

3)   A recommendation that, in order to enable the participation of local, regional and national SSF organizations, there may be a need for some capacity-building support to develop communications materials. Ideally, this would include funding for translation and the creation of plainly written popular education versions of the guidelines.

Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the development of the implementation strategy for the Guidelines 


Arthur Bull

Executive Director  

Bay of Fundy Marine Resource Centre

Ms. Shameem Sheik Dastagir ActionAid INternational, India

Feed back on VG on fisheries to FAO

  1. Partnering for implementation – roles of different actors and stakeholders

5. Consultation and participation This is an excellent suggestion but the challenge is to translate these words in to action. The power dynamics, patriarchal values drive the society and administrative functions at all levels and might lead to tokenistic consultation and participation. It is essential that the guidelines are translated in to local language, manuals in visual forms and simple interactive language developed to be taken to the field. We can also develop cadres of women and youth at the village and district level to facilitate sensitisation and ownership of the process. This process will be sustained by development of critical mass of the deprived, build their capacities to be represented at the decision making forums.

5.8 Normally the processes in such initiatives are opaque and come to light only when things are finalised in many instances, so much so that the communities do not even have fishing rights in their own river. In addition to cadre building, interactive platforms should be promoted at local, national, sub regional and regional level involving all stakeholders for updated knowledge, to generate informed agreements and to improve their bargaining power in interest of the marginalised. The existing platforms should be made functional and expanded to include more people who are directly and adversely hit by these initiatives.

5.13 A bottom up and participatory planning process should be part of all tiers of governance while making annual plans and five year plans. We have rich experience in detailed community processes which have generated excellent partnership with state in many countries.

6.3 The value chain should also be gender sensitive, giving space for women, recognising their contribution in form of unpaid care work, giving scope in reduction and redistribution of their work. This will give way for womens’ active representation and contribution in terms of social, economic and political empowerment. We can give the framework to be practised in the field adapting to different contexts. This is mentioned in section 7.2 but should be reflected here too.

6.9 It is crucial that we need to strategise for engagement of the states despite the voluntary nature of guidelines. Many precious lives are being lost in the war of waters even when they go for their livelihood and survival. The perculation of top level agreements should be passed on at the bottom most rung of officials, as the problems generally occur at the front line due to lack of understanding and right interpretation of agreements.

7.7 For a person involved in small scale fisheries, immediate applicable is the national legislation and agreements with their local state bodies. This should reflected in addition to WTO agreements.

5.9 What is the scope the VG gives in case the national legislations are absent in favour of the marginalised, or lack the needed clause favouring the poor and tokenistic? There is a need for the civil society to develop an approach to influence these legislations positively.

  1. Challenges and opportunities – needs for support and interventions

Preface - Where poverty exists in small-scale fishing communities, it is of a multidimensional nature [.]

The multi dimensional is very broad and leads to confusion in reader’s mind. Small scale fishing communities do experience poverty and it is women who are more vulnerable as they are forced to take over and manage the resources for their as well as their families’ survival. We might have to be specific for effective implementation

1.2 [,in a rights based environment,] and placing emphasis on the needs of developing countries [and

for the benefit of vulnerable and marginalized groups].

Are we also emphasising on the accountability of the state and their role in various tiers of governance?

[2.5 These guidelines should be interpreted and applied in accordance with national legal systems and their institutions.]

When the guidelines are voluntary, it is most difficult to pursue the state in the application as they could site end number of reasons. Is it possible that the VGs have a link or tie up with a local element to ensure accountability for vulnerable and marginalised, which the document sresses. Else, the very word voluntary will become a tool of convenience.

4.0 [These [voluntary] Guidelines are to be interpreted and applied in conformity with the relevant rules of international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (1982 UN Convention). Nothing in these Guidelines prejudices the rights, jurisdiction and duties of States under the international law of the sea as reflected in the 1982 UN Convention, noting that reference to UNCLOS does not prejudice the position of any State with respect to signature, ratification or accession to this instrument and its further role. ([These guidelines also make reference to the UN Fish Stock Agreement. References to that agreement do not prejudice the position of any State with respect to signature, ratification or accession to this instrument and its further role.][ References to the 1995 UN Fish Stock agreement in these Guidelines do not imply that this agreement may apply to States that had not expressed their consent to be bound by it.] ]

This clause makes the implementation more difficult. If states have absolute freedom, they might completely ignore the existence of the VG and continue to do what they think is right. In countries with considerable percentage of rule controlled by military (like Myanmar which has 25% seats in government for military reign), it gives very little scope for intervention.

5.4 All parties, in accordance with their legislation, should recognize, respect and protect all forms of legitimate tenure rights, taking into account, where appropriate, customary rights, to aquatic resources and land and small-scale fishing areas enjoyed by small-scale fishing communities. When necessary, in order to protect various forms of legitimate tenure rights, legislation to this effect should be provided.

States should take appropriate measures to identify record and respect legitimate tenure right holders and their rights,[whether formally recorded or not.6]Local norms and practices, as well as customary or otherwise preferential access to fishery resources and land by small-scale fishing communities [including indigenous peoples [and ethnic minorities]],

The VG text is very clear here but the importance is subdued by the elements mentioned earlier in the VG as pointed above.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines ,
FSN Forum

Implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF)

Issues and Questions – St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) response

  1. Partnering for implementation
  • Role of SVG Fisheries:
    • Ensure that fishers and relevant stakeholders understand what the SSF guidelines are and how it may affect them (there are both rights and responsibilities)
    • Offer support, maybe through capacity development, for fishers so that all parties play a role in sustainable fisheries (co-management structure)
    • Ensure that Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) systems are in place and functioning
    • Provide representation for the interests of fishers in management and decision making workshops and forums.
    • It is the duty of SVG Fisheries as well as the wider population to ensure sustainable fisheries by:
      • Good governance practices
      • Maintaining the habitats and ecosystems supporting the fishery sector so that the marine environment are in good condition
      • Ensuring sustenance through laws, regulations and policies which allows us to have fish for future generations while allowing us to provide still for present population
      • Applying the EcoSystem Approach
  • Partnerships may be fostered through stakeholder consultations in all fishing communities and other relevant communities if necessary
  • Requirements: fisherfolk consultations, legislation reform/strengthening, project funding
  • Partnerships can be developing through communication such as media, public awareness, use of social media (Facebook, Twitter), radio and television. Also community consultations and developing a main driver for example entertainer, musical D.J etc
  1. Information and communication – promoting experience sharing and collaboration
  • By engaging the attention of the youths which can be done by website tools.
  • Best practices: Website (blogs, e-newsletters), local media (newspaper articles, radio interviews, television interviews, video specials)
  • Progress measured: Enlist project officers throughout the different regions. These persons can also liaise and work along with organizations who are responsible for fishers. For example CRFM for CARICOM and Associate members of CARICOM
  • Use of television, radio, Facebook, Twitter, house to house consultations, one on one conversations with stakeholders & entrepreneurs and exhibitions in strategic points both urban and rural.


  1. Challenges and opportunities – needs for support and interventions
  • Lack of support by stakeholders, government etc
  • Ensuring the guidelines are applicable to SVG and not just something handed down to us
  • Public awareness – changing the mindset of our people
  • Varying intervention in the long term:
    • Education of public, including youth , on important areas of sustainable fisheries
    • Training
    • Marine Protected Areas
    • Complete governance of the sea by the government
    • Regulations and polices
    • Awareness campaigns
Andrew Johnston Artisanal Fishers Association, South Africa

Voluntary Guidelines for a sustainable small- scale fisheries.

Our organization the Artisanal Fishers Association of South Africa is a regional community based organization which has been the attention of many a researcher/academic and media because of the manner of which without any funding or offices, operated, organized and managed.  It was basically a type of beach gang operation that was born from resistance to the racially oppression of the Apartheid system that marginalized us with the introduction of the ITQ fishing system. We rejected the unjust quota system of the government and worked outside of their laws until we "supposedly " gained our freedom in 1994. Our vision was to stop the unjust fishing policy and to regain and retain our traditional fishing rights. Our banners which we carried with pride, was our objectives in our struggle - Reasserting Fishers Rights, -We Speak for the Silent Sea and You, - We Don't Want To Be Rich We just Want Access To The Sea.

We have been participants at F.A.O. over a period of ten years through being members of WFFP on fishing issues and by the invitation of FIAN, working on the guidelines on the right to food.

The question of participation and capacity building is problematic as although consultive framework exists and is carried out, participation in final policy decision- making is terribly flawed. Many of the average fishing communities especially community based organizations are feeling estranged from the international political bodies, as BINGOS (big international non-governmental organizations) and academics easily shape the results according to their agendas that sometimes are contrary to problems that behest the poorer fishing communities. The argument that we must speak on the behalf of the fishers is non- sensical hogwash as I can proudly say that the fishers inputs at our parliamentary meeting, (thanks to the work of Musifundise), the Philippines guidelines meeting, and other local meets makes a mockery of this theory. The bedrock for the guidelines should be democracy, freedom in all aspects and to improve of the quality of life of the vulnerable and marginalized fishing communities worldwide so that they can live with dignity, fulfillment and happiness. The greatest threat to achieving a democratic process is that even though the participants ignore it, bigotry, prejudice and racial and religious hatred exists. Pigeonholed by this, the views tend to focus mainly around their own agendas and objectives. As I wrote in my review of the last COFI meet the quest for equality of one group should not lead to the equality of another. Consultative and participation in the pursuit of meaningful democracy has to be within a framework of a participatory integrated policy that ensures active, free, effective and meaningful and informed participation of all small scale fishing peoples, without prejudice in all aspects of governance, taking into consideration the power imbalances, patronage of the funders and political forces that exists in the various regions and countries. The practice of religious faith are important to many worldwide in providing family righteous living and relationships therefore the acceptance of religious beliefs and traditions within the guidelines should be undertaken into consideration with a great deal of sensitivity.

What are the realities of problems facing the small- small scale fishing communities that are having a profound detrimental effect on the fishing communities; Privatization,-non-recognition, - prejudice and hate,- racism,- drug and alcoholic abuse,-health problems,-economic oppression,-anti-social behavior,- sea and land grabbing,- ecological degradation,- economic and trade enslavement.,- social and economic inequalities,- non-active participation,- culture jamming.,- denial of livelihoods,-  marginalization,- corruption,- jailing of fishers through  trans -border crossings,- habitat destruction, - bad fishing policies,- undemocratic participatory governance,- uncaring certification and labeling schemes,-  bad management,- illegal fishing, -trawler encroachment,- overfishing, - high technology,-weather conditions,- bad science and scientific data,- , joint ventures with developed countries,- poverty,-food insecurity,- poor prices,-  conflict,- poor living conditions, - sea safety conditions,-, access rights, - destruction of family life and values, - non development, -access to education, -.production of fish for export rather than for local food needs (globalization), - xenophobia, - disregard for critical discussion. The irresponsible beliefs that the killing of children for "muti" must be stopped, especially in the East African  countries that are using the body parts of albino children to make catches fruitful and enrich the fishers, is barbaric and must be condemned. Also we are being cheated by unscrupulous merchants, elites, self instituted leaders and politicians who are disempowering the poor vulnerable small- scale fishers and fishing workers.

These are the important issues that behest the fishers and has been well articulated at most of our conferences and meetings, and the question is does the Guidelines substantially address these difficulties that the small-scale fisher face?  The world is steadily deteriorating because of dismantling of human and family values and the depletion of our natural resources and promotion of materialistic profit-making consumerism. Sustainable development, sustainable living and a sustainable society require not only a human rights objective but a value system. Human values are seen to be non-existent where some leaders and politicians live a lie, but we live in hope that there is empathy in the world and that there is some in power who do really care. There is a bond between enduring human values and a sustainable society, the depletion of resources but also the depletion of human values is what seem to be lacking. Although we cannot have it in the guidelines we should not lose sight that these  invisible objectives of honesty, respect, love, violence, solidarity, truthfulness and democracy are extremely important in creating a sustainable society.

 The acceptance that each country can establish their own interpretation of small –scale fisheries, is controversial and can create ineffectiveness of the guidelines, it is not an all embracing international version but will become merely a willy-nilly local paperback. We are identified in the various countries under the term of as artisanal, traditional, indigenous, native, and small-scale or subsistence fishers. We should take note of the defining characteristics of small-scale fishing that makes particular importance to their way of life; They are dispersed along coastlines and because they depend mainly on marine eco-systems that are situated close to their homes near their harvesting activities and have small scale capital commitments, levels of production and produce supply mainly to the sub-sector economy chain. The size of the vessel, power and technology depends on the sea and weather conditions in the various countries, but the question should rather be “what we are not”.

We do not harvest huge quantities of fish through use of large scale operations of mechanized gear and trawl nets, use high- tech technology, chase fish with large sophisticated ships far into the deep sea, not involved in processing plants, the scale of operations are not capital intensive, target fish that produces by-catches, harvested specie for the globalized or export market and employ many personal on a formal basis. We function as home based micro-enterprise operators , normally near-shore , use passive gear to harvest provide food directly mostly daily to the communities for local consumption to nearby villages or towns, have traditional and customary management arrangements with each other and make a valuable positive economic and social benefit to their communities. It is a labour intensive thus helping in the fight against unemployment and food insecurity.

These voluntary guideline is of crucial importance to have and we should strive to get it to be accepted internationally by all.  These guidelines are not the end because in the future things will change and some will tend to ignore it and thus our struggle will continue.

Andrew Johnston.

We are impressed with Odusina Olawaseum of Nigeria input and congratulate him on his work.