General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

SSF Forum

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The Small-Scale Fishers’ Forum or “SSF Forum” is a place for small-scale fishers and fish workers from the Mediterranean and Black Sea region to come together, share knowledge and exchange best practices to build capacity on common issues and jointly identify opportunities and alternative scenarios for their resources management.

This initiative responds to the recommendations within the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (RPOA-SSF) to offer support to small-scale fishers and fish workers to further develop their capacities and skills with regard to sustainable small-scale fisheries and livelihoods. In particular, Paragraph 39 e of the RPOA-SSF calls upon countries to:

“Facilitate education and training opportunities for men and women of the fisheries sector, such as summer universities, aimed at developing fisheries-specific skills, policy knowledge (fisheries, environment) and, in particular, knowledge and innovative solutions and technology developments”.

This initiative also supports the implementation of the SSF Guidelines, which strongly recommend facilitating capacity development of small-scale fishing communities and enabling  their participation in decision-making and development processes.

The workshops of the 2021 “SSF Forum” are aligned with the main themes of the RPOA-SSF, each consisting of a series of 1.5-2 hour sessions. The workshops are designed to offer small-scale fishers and fish workers from around the region the opportunity to share good practices and learn from one another. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all 2021 SSF Forum workshops are foreseen to be held virtually. Once travel will be possible again, the SSF Forum will aim to also promote peer-to-peer exchanges through in-person field visits.

10 & 17 May, 7 July 2021 | Promoting strong and innovative SSF value chains

Main organizer(s) CIHEAM Bari and the AKTEA Platform 
This workshop focuses on best practices to create competitive economic advantages for small-scale fisheries actors along the value chain. Sessions focus on strategies for adding value to small-scale fisheries products, such as voluntary labeling, direct selling processing and packaging; and on the experiences of women contributing to robust SSF value chains in the region. 

The workshop consisted of three sessions:

  • 10 May 2021 (11.00 - 12.30 CEST) – “Enhancing SSF value chains: innovations in processing and voluntary labeling” (Organized by CIHEAM Bari) AGENDA
  • 17 May 2021 (16.00 - 17.30 CEST) – “Enhancing SSF market opportunities through direct selling, processing and sustainable packaging” (Organized by CIHEAM Bari) AGENDA
  • 7 July 2021 (16.30 - 18.00 CEST) – “Being a woman along the SSF value chain: real life success stories and challenges” (Organized by the AKTEA Platform) AGENDA

Summary of key issues and related conclusions available HERE

6, 14 & 20 September 2021 | Decent work and social protection

Main organizer(s) General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) 
The SSF Guidelines and the RPOA-SSF underline that sustainable small-scale fisheries management should go hand-in-hand with opportunities for decent work and socio-economic development. Promoting safety at sea, occupational health and safety, as well as access to social protection programmes (both formal and informal), are crucial for supporting the resilience of small-scale fishing communities and their full and productive employment. This workshop will seek to explore good practices for ensuring safe working conditions. It will also seek to raise awareness about social protection programmes, including their impact on the socio-economic development of small-scale fishers and natural resource management, sharing best practices in improving access in the region. Additionally, it will share experiences and strategies of how SSF organizations can play a role in providing community-based social protection for their members. 
Sessions The workshop will consist of three sessions: 
  • 6 September 2021 (15:30 – 17:00 CEST) – “Social protection: what is it and how to overcome barriers for access” AGENDA
  • 14 September 2021 (15:30 – 17:00 CEST) – “Preparing for a safe fishing trip: do’s and don’ts” AGENDA
  • 20 September 2021 (16:30 – 18:00 CEST) – “How SSF organizations can promote community-based social protection for members” AGENDA
Conclusions Summary of key issues and related conclusions available HERE

2, 7 & 26 October 2021 | Participatory management approaches

Main organizer(s) WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative (WWF MMI), Mediterranean Advisory Council (MEDAC), the Directorate-General for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs – Department of Agriculture, Stockbreeding, Fisheries and Food, Government of Catalonia (DGPAM-DARP), the Fishers’ Cofradia of Roses and the Catalan Federation of Fishermen Associations (FNCCP)
Contributing organization(s)
Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)
Empowering small-scale fisheries stakeholders to engage in decision-making processes has shown to be a powerful and effective tool for sustainable management. This workshop will examine different participatory management arrangements and best practices for running efficient and effective SSF organizations. Workshops will share the experiences of fishers participating in successful co-management arrangements and will show how co-management can work at different levels. The experiences of other participatory processes will also be highlighted and best practices will be shared among SSF organizations with strategies for good organization management.  

The workshop will consist of three sessions:

  • 2 October 2021 (10.00 – 14.00 CEST) – “2nd Forum on Fisheries Co-management in Catalonia: lessons learnt from local co-management committees” (Organized by DGPAM-DARP, Fishers’Cofradia of Roses, FNCCP, GFCM and more) AGENDA
  • 7 October 2021 (10.00 – 12.00 CEST) – “Promoting advisory councils in the Mediterranean: the experience of MEDAC” (Organized by MEDAC) AGENDA: EN | ES | FR | GR | HR| IT
  • 26 October 2021 (15.30 - 17.00 CEST) – “SSF organizations: showcasing initiatives in the region for good organizational management and engagement in co-management processes” (Organized by WWF MMI) AGENDA

19 November, 8 & 13 December 2021 | Small-scale fishers: guardians of our changing marine environment

Main organizer(s) General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative 
The changing marine environment presents ever-evolving challenges: from climate change to plastic pollution to reducing interactions with vulnerable species. This workshop will highlight innovative solutions and adaptation strategies to address these challenges. Workshops will showcase solutions fishers have found to improve the selectivity of their catches, reducing bycatch and the incidental catch of vulnerable species; provide opportunities for fishers to share and compare climate change impacts and discuss adaptation strategies; and will highlight innovative projects with small-scale fishers in the region to combat marine litter and plastic pollution in our seas. 

The workshop will consist of three sessions:

  • 19 November 2021 (15.30-17.00 CEST) – “Strengthening resilience to climate change: mitigation and adaptation strategies” (Organized by the GFCM)
  • 8 December 2021 (15.30-17.00 CEST) – “Participating in the circular economy: innovative strategies to address marine litter” (Organized by the GFCM)
  • 13 December 2021 (15.30-17.00 CEST) – “Fishing more selectively: reducing bycatch and the incidental catch of vulnerable species” (Organized by WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative)
    • Interpretation for this session will be provided in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, Italian and Spanish* 


Small-scale fishers, fish workers, SSF organization representatives and other relevant stakeholders of Mediterranean and Black Sea countries are encouraged to apply to the workshops. Fishers and fish workers who actively work in Mediterranean and Black Sea small-scale fisheries will be given priorities and other stakeholders accommodated subject to space.

SSF Forum participants will receive a certificate of completion. Those fishers, fish workers and SSF organization representatives that have completed SSF Forum workshops will be given priority for funding to support their travel to attend future in-person SSF Forum events. 


All 2021 SSF Forum workshops will be held online. Specific instructions for accessing the online workshops, including login details, will be shared with registered participants in the days prior to the start of the course.

Interpretation will be provided for all workshops in Arabic, English, French and Spanish (*unless otherwise noted above). Additional languages may be added on an ad hoc basis depending on the interest and language needs of registered participants.


To register to participate, kindly complete and submit this form.

Please note that registration for each workshop will close one week prior to the start of the workshop. For any additional questions or further information, please contact [email protected]  


Scientists and small-scale fishers


Lebanon - participatory approach

Montenegro - scientists and fishers

Turkey - marine protected areas


The Friends of SSF platform is coordinating the implementation of the SSF Forum, providing strategic direction and technically supporting, as required, the various workshops included.

The Steering Committee will review applications for participation and will evaluate applicant eligibility. If there are more applicants than available places in a specific workshop, the Steering Committee retains the right to select participants based on an assessment of the apparent relevance of a chosen workshop to the applicant’s work. A geographic and gender balance among trainees across the SSF Forum programme will also be sought.