Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

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    • Dr. Elyse Mills

      International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

      On behalf of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), we have a few additional points to add to the recommendations we posted last week. These are in relation to the discussion on pages 79-80 on ‘Fisheries policy and investment’, in order to indicate the breadth of the topic:

      1. Millions on people depend on fisheries and related trades – most of these are in small-scale fisheries. The emphasis of governments on industrialization and large-scale fisheries is negatively impacting SSF and their food security through (a) depletion of inshore resources (which is mentioned); (b) accumulation by the few at the expense of the many; (c) pollution that is affecting marine and inland ecosystems;
      2. The incidence of ‘ocean grab’ and ‘coastal grab’, which reduces the life chances and food security of SSF (see related references below) through blue economy developments (meaning privatization) along the coast.
      3. Distant water fleets which affect inequality between nations (particularly between the Global North and South);
      4. There is a great deal of literature on the contribution of aquatic foods to food security and nutrition, including of the poor, which can be drawn upon. Shakuntala Thilsted’s (winner of the 2021 World Food Prize) is one example. FAO also has a report on small, low-cost fish for food security and nutrition that is coming out in 2023.
      5. The role of fishers’ movements (locally, nationally and internationally) in addressing not only sustainability issues in fisheries, but inequality issues too.


      Related References

      • Brent, Z., Barbesgaard, M., & Pedersen, C. (2018). The Blue Fix: Unmasking the politics behind the promise of blue growth.
      • Bavinck, M., F. Berkes, A. Charles, C. Esteves Dias, P. Nayak, M. Sowman (2017). The impact of coastal grabbing on community conservation – a global reconnaissance. Maritime Studies (MAST), 16:8.
      • Bavinck, M., Ahern, M., Hapke, H.M., Johnson, D.S., Kjellevold, M., Kolding, J., Overå, R. & Schut, T., eds. (2023). Small, low-cost fish for food and nutrition security. Technical Paper. Rome, FAO.
      • Bennett, N. J., Govan, H., & Satterfield, T. (2015). Ocean grabbing. Marine Policy57, 61-68.
      • Mills, E. N. (2018). Implicating ‘fisheries justice’ movements in food and climate politics. Third World Quarterly, 39(7), 1270-1289.
      • Mills, E. N. (2021). The politics of transnational fishers' movements. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 1-26.
    • Dr. Elyse Mills

      International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

      Recommendations from the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

      Question 1

      • Considering the importance of the fisheries sector to food security and nutrition globally, it is important that this framework also be able to provide practical guidance to policymakers working on fisheries, rural and social development. Information and examples of social inequality in the context of fisheries – particularly within the small-scale sector – should be included in the framework, especially in relation to intersections with gender, ethnicity, class, caste, age, etc.). Such examples would be especially useful to include on pages 12-17 of the draft report.
        • The accompanying list of recent ICSF resources on fisheries and food security and nutrition provides numerous concrete examples which can be drawn upon in the report.  
      • Specific reference should be made to the international Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) and their core principles. These Guidelines are the cornerstone of equitable and sustainable small-scale fisheries governance globally. See:
      • The framework should also make a connection between small-scale fisheries and the human right to adequate food, such as through exploring synergies in the implementation of the SSF Guidelines and the Right to Food Guidelines. See: 

      Questions 4, 6 and 7

      • Chapter 2 deals with inequalities in food security and nutrition across regions and groups. When discussing such inequalities, it is recommended to also explore and highlight inequalities within and between specific food producer groups across the food chain – including agriculture, fisheries, livestock, aquaculture and forestry. Inequalities and the obstacles these create are very different between and within these diverse groups, and cannot be adequately addressed without a clearer understanding of their causes and consequences.
      • In Chapter 2, no distinction is made between different types of animal-based protein, while fish has a very different nutritional value than red meat, and provides key long-chain fatty acids that are crucial for the health of pregnant and lactating women, and the mental and physical development of young children. Data should be included on the nutritional importance of fish. Key data can be found here:
        • Example to include: 800 million people globally (of which 50% are women), depend on small-scale fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods.
      • Chapter 3 deals with inequalities in food and other systems and FSN implications. This chapter has a strong focus on inequalities in agricultural food systems, however inequalities in aquatic food systems (including fisheries and aquaculture) are not included. Such inequalities should be highlighted, in particular regarding: tenure rights; access to markets and trade; access to information and technology; finance opportunities; participation in decision-making spaces and processes; opportunities to engage in decent work; and access to social development, social security and safety.
      • Include some of the key findings from FAO’s Illuminating Hidden Harvests (IHH) report on small-scale fisheries and sustainable development (available here: ). Examples include:
      • Small-scale fisheries account for at least 40 percent of global fisheries catch.
      • 90 percent of the people employed along capture fisheries value chains operate in small-scale fisheries.
      • 45 million women participate in small-scale fisheries, including for subsistence purposes.
      • Small fish and midwater fish are especially nutritious and found abundantly in small-scale fisheries landings.
      • Co-management is likely implemented for about 20 percent of the catch from small-scale fisheries.
      • For each fisher in the small-scale sector, at least four other people are engaged in related land-based activities, such as the preparation of equipment, fish processing, and marketing.
      • As a family-based activity, fishing makes a direct contribution to household food security, where women play a particularly important role – both as the link with markets and as the household provider of food. These roles are of course in addition to their reproductive and caregiving roles.
      • Chapter 4 deals with the systemic drivers and root causes of FSN inequalities. On page 79, there is a discussion on fisheries policy and investment. In this section, more information should be included on small-scale fisheries and the impact of global trends such as blue economy / blue growth and conservation agendas. Although the international community has endorsed the SSF Guidelines, their widespread implementation still faces major obstacles.  The growing pressures of the blue economy and conservation, including the rapid expansion of aquaculture, wind farms, marine protected areas and the 30x30 agenda, deep sea mining, etc., pose multiple threats to small-scale fisheries – particularly at the level of tenure rights, and access to resources and markets. Climate change and global environmental policies too are impacting small-scale fisheries in a major way. The framework should include references to how the blue economy, conservation agendas, environmental and climate politics impact small-scale fisheries, including in relation to gender inequality and access to resources, markets and fishing areas. Examples can be found in this collective statement:

      We are also including a list of recent ICSF resources (reports, articles and films) on food security and nutrition in the context of fisheries which you may wish to draw examples from for your report. Please see it in the attachment.