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Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication

Part 2: Responsible fisheries and sustainable development

Governance of tenure in small-scale fisheries and resource management

The SSF Guidelines stress that secure equitable, socially and culturally appropriate tenure rights to fishery resources and to land in the coastal/waterfront area are critical for ensuring and facilitating access to the fishery. The SSF Guidelines call for the responsible management of aquatic ecosystems and associated biodiversity as a fundamental basis for livelihoods and for the sector’s capacity to contribute to overall well-being. In particular, this section is devoted to the role of different actors in resource management, stressing that rights and responsibilities come together. It includes calls for participatory approaches, including co-management and a need to develop improved management systems and cooperation. Accordingly, the SSF Guidelines provide guidance on issues such as sustainable fishing practices and fisheries management, monitoring, control and surveillance, and capacity development for improved management.

Social development, employment and decent work

The SSF Guidelines recognize that fisheries do not exist in a vacuum. A variety of factors beyond the sector can contribute to sustainable long-term resource use and improve the contribution of fishing to improved livelihoods, food security and poverty eradication. Therefore, the SSF Guidelines go beyond strictly fisheries-related issues and also provide guidance to address the socio-economic conditions of small-scale fishers, fish workers and their communities. The SSF Guidelines address issues such as education, health services, financial services, social protection, public infrastructure and other public services. In this chapter, the SSF Guidelines also call for increased attention and action on issues related to decent work by, for example, providing guidance on occupational health and safety and measures to improve safety at sea, and calling attention to the situation of migrant fishers and fish workers.

Value chains, post-harvest and trade

The SSF Guidelines recognize post-harvest and other value chain activities as crucial components for sustainable small-scale fisheries. They therefore acknowledge the need to also involve post-harvest actors in relevant decision-making processes. In this context, the SSF Guidelines also call for support to workers and stress the key role that women play in post-harvest activities. In addition, the SSF Guidelines call for improvements to the post-harvest sector through appropriate infrastructure and technology investments, value-addition activities, and post-harvest loss and waste reduction. On matters of trade, the SSF Guidelines urge the facilitation of market access for small-scale fisheries at all levels.

Gender equality

As a cross-cutting issue, gender considerations are incorporated into the various sections of the SSF Guidelines. Nevertheless, this section specifically addresses the need to improve gender equality in the entire fisheries value chain. Inter alia, it calls for equal participation of women in decision-making processes and organizations, appropriate technologies, and supportive policies and legislation. It encourages the compliance with relevant international human rights law and the development of monitoring and evaluation systems to assess the impact of legislation, policies and actions for effectively addressing and mainstreaming gender issues.

Disaster risks and climate change

The SSF Guidelines recognize the vulnerability of small-scale fisheries (throughout the value chain) to the impacts of climate change and disasters. For this reason, the SSF Guidelines strongly urge States and other actors to support affected small-scale fisheries communities and to develop specific policies, strategies and plans for climate change adaptation and mitigation, and emergency response and disaster preparedness. These require holistic approaches to address matters such as coastal erosion, pollution, destruction of habitats and other issues that may negatively affect climate change adaptation and disaster risk management activities. The chapter also promotes energy efficiency and appropriate technologies for the entire sector.