10th anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines)
2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines).
The SSF Guidelines are the first international instrument dedicated entirely to the immensely important small-scale fisheries sector. More than 4000 voices from fishers, fish workers and others in over 120 countries have described how they would want to make livelihoods along the small-scale fisheries value chain sustainable for people and the planet. Their recommendations have been summarized into a concise set of principles, namely the SSF Guidelines.
The final text of the SSF Guidelines was negotiated by FAO Members and endorsed by the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in 2014, confirming a strong commitment from both governments and civil society to bring about positive change in small-scale fisheries.
The principles in the SSF Guidelines address policies, strategies and legal frameworks concerning small-scale fisheries, but also other matters affecting lives and livelihoods in fishing communities. The SSF Guidelines are global in scope, and they guide dialogue, policy processes and actions at national, regional and international level, contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Key issues addressed in the SSF Guidelines are:
- securing tenure rights and managing resources responsibly;
- supporting social development and decent work;
- improving value chains from catching through processing to trading fish;
- promoting gender equality; and
- taking into account climate change and disaster risk.
Aware, informed, empowered, capacitated
To achieve the recommendations in the SSF Guidelines, one must know about, understand and apply them. Efforts to implement the SSF Guidelines include: (i) Raising awareness; (ii) Strengthening the science-policy interface; (iii) Empowering stakeholder, and; (iv) Supporting implementation.
It is also important to understand the situation, challenges and opportunities facing small-scale fisheries around the world, and to use this knowledge to inform policies and decisions to support sustainable fisheries and community livelihoods.
Change has to happen at national and local levels. For that, fishers and fish workers need to know their rights and responsibilities and have ways to realize them. Organisations that carry the voice of fishers and fish workers to policy- and decision-makers must be supported and empowered. Likewise, policy- and decision-makers need the tools and capacity to engage with small-scale fishers.
All actors need supporting partnerships and arrangements that makes it easy for them to exchange ideas and concerns, and collaborate to make a difference. There is also a need to measure and keep track of progress.
The implementation of the SSF Guidelines is both challenging and promising. The International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) in 2022 has shown that actions to raise awareness on the small-scale fisheries subsector can generate positive results. Two countries have already launched National Plans of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries (NPOA-SSF) and other countries have started the process of developing an NPOA-SSF or have demonstrated interest in doing so.
On the SSF Guidelines website you can find more information about the SSF Guidelines, including related projects, tools and resources.
Tell us what you think and do!
Share your experience on the implementation of the SSF Guidelines
This call is an important stock taking opportunity for all and the results are expected to further inform FAO, governments, SSF organizations, NGOs development partners, CSOs, research and other partners initiatives to implement the SSF Guidelines at national, regional or global level.
The FAO SSF Guidelines team invite stakeholders to:
Share experiences, lessons learned and good practices on the implementation of the SSF Guidelines.
Point out gaps, constraints and challenges encountered in raising awareness and implementing the SSF Guidelines.
Suggest recommendations for improvements in implementing the SSF Guidelines.
Share concrete plans to (further) use and implement the SSF Guidelines.
Tell us why the SSF Guidelines are important.
Your contributions will support celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the SSF Guidelines, for example during the 36th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries and during the 2024 SSF Summit and inform future implementation.
How to take part in this Call for Submissions:
Submissions can be made in any of the three languages (English, French or Spanish). Please keep the length of submissions limited to 1,000 words. You can download and upload the completed form on this webpage or, alternatively, send it to [email protected].
The Call for Submissions is open until 11 December 2023.
We engage you for an active participation and thank you for sharing your experience!
Nicole Franz, Fishery Officer, Equitable Livelihoods Team Lead, Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, FAO
Mele Tauati, Fishery Officer (Small-Scale Fisheries), Equitable Livelihoods Team, Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, FAO
FAO. 2015. Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. Rome. https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/I4356EN
FAO. 2020. Legislating for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries – A guide on how to align national fisheries legislation to the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. Rome. https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/CB0885EN
FAO. 2023. International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 – Final report. Rome. https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en?details=cc5034en
United Republic of Tanzania. 2021. NPOA National Plan of Action For Implementation of Voluntary Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small- scale fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (NPoA-SSF GUIDELINES). Dodoma, Tanzania. https://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ssf/documents/Tanzania_National_Plan_of_Action_Book.pdf
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR). 2022. National Plan of Action for small-scale fisheries. 2022-2026. Government of Namibia. https://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ssf/documents/Namibias_National_Plan_of_Action_for_Small_Scale_Fisheries_2022_to_2026.pdf
For learning more about the FAO publications on this topic, please read the article here.
This activity is now closed. Please contact [email protected] for any further information.