General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

SSF Forum

Version française

WHAT IS THE SSF FORUM?

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 good practices and learn from one another. 

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 39e 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 further 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 SSF Forum also supports the United Nations International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA). 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the 2022 SSF Forum workshops are foreseen to be held virtually, but attendees who would like to meet up in smaller groups in front of one screen to participate in the workshop together are of course welcome to do so, local COVID-19 restrictions permitting. Once travel will be possible again, the SSF Forum will aim to also promote peer-to-peer exchanges through in-person field visits. 

2022 SSF FORUM PROGRAMME 

The 2022 SSF Forum programme foresees a series of workshops that speak to two main themes:  

  • Stakeholder-policy interface: building bridges and strengthening communication between small-scale fisheries stakeholders, researchers and decision-makers is essential to finding effective solutions for the sustainable management of the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Fishers need to be empowered to be active participants and drivers of the management and policy processes. These workshops seek to shed light on the decision-making process: from data collection, to scientific advice, to the adoption of management measures, as well as facilitate a deeper look into the management of select species in the GFCM area of application. 
  • Next generation SSF: At the heart of the RPOA-SSF is the need to ensure the sustainability of SSF for years to come, continuing to foster the livelihood opportunities, food security and cultural heritage represented by this sector. This cannot be done without ensuring young people can see a future for themselves in this sector. These workshops seek to provide young people with tools to succeed in the SSF sector, including by sharing opportunities for innovation.

24 February 2022 I Stakeholder-policy interface | From data collection to management: how the decision-making process work?

Organizer
General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)  
Contributing organization
World Wide Fund (WWF) 
Date and modality
24 February 2022, online meeting 
Objective
The objective of this workshop is to demonstrate the importance of data collection in the process of decision-making and the crucial role of small-scale fishers in collecting them. After an introduction on the different steps of data collection leading to the adoption of decisions at the GFCM, various perspectives of data collection will be showcased, from a more regional level to a local level and fishers’ level, with the participation of fishers from around the region.
Recordings

ARABIC / ENGLISH / FRENCH SPANISH
Agenda available here: ENGLISH / FRENCH 

Conclusions
ENGLISH / FRENCH  

14 April 2022 I Stakeholder-policy interface | Connecting scientists and fishers in the process towards data collection and management of European eel in the Mediterranean

Organizer
General Fisheries Commision for the Mediterranean (GFCM)  
Date and modality
14 April 2022, 10.00-12.00 CET, hybrid meeting 
In-person event in October (TBC) 
Objective

This workshop aims at disseminating information relating to the research programme on European eel with a particular focus on the outcomes related to data collection and management of this species in the Mediterranean. The intent is to establish and enhance the interaction between scientists and fishers. 

The workshop will take place on 14 April 2022 back to back to the workshop entitled "Small-scale fishing in the Mediterranean: small in scale, high in value" within the framework of International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA), under the hat of the “Escale à Sète” event in the South of France, giving space to fishers and scientists to share their experience and knowledge, in particular:

    • The critical status of the European eel stock
    • Eel habitats at risk: human impacts and threats
    • Data collection: common work, shared information and the collaboration between Science and Fishers
Agenda


ENGLISH / FRENCH  

Conclusions


ENGLISH / FRENCH  

9 May 2022 I Stakeholder-policy interface | Stakeholder input on the management of rapa whelk fisheries in the Black Sea

Organizer
General Fisheries Commision for the Mediterranean (GFCM) (Black Sea technical unit) 
Date and modality

First weeks of May, in-country in-person stakeholder workshops 

9 May 2022, 9.30-12.00 and 14.00-15.00 online meeting

Objective
The objective of the workshop is to start the process of identifying management measures through stakeholder engagement in the framework of the research programme on rapa whelk in the Black Sea, which aims at providing the scientific basis for advice towards the future establishment of a multiannual management plan.  
 
The workshop will take place in two stages:  
    • in-person workshops in each Black Sea country involving all relevant stakeholders; and 
    • online meeting including a morning session to evaluate the results of the country meetings specific for rapa whelk and an afternoon session targeting a wider audience on the process of identifying alternative management measures and discussing their potential effectiveness through stakeholder engagement. 
Interpretation
Bulgarian, English, Romanian, Turkish
Agenda

ENGLISH / FRENCH

30 June 2022 I Stakeholder-policy interface | From scientific data to decision-making: the functioning of the GFCM consultative process towards SSF management measures

Organizer
Mediterranean Advisory Council (MEDAC) 
Date and modality

30 June 2022, 10.00-12.30 (CEST)

In-person meeting, Rome, Italy

Venue: Centro Congressi Cavour, Via Cavour, 50/a, 00184 Roma RM (Italy)

Objective
The objective of the workshop is to analyze the forthcoming management measures at GFCM level of interest for SSF and to provide a shared stakeholder advice on the basis of the available information.
Interpretation

Croatian, English, French, Greek, Italian and Spanish

Registration

Please register here

Agenda

Available here

7 July 2022 I Next generation SSF | Technological innovations to facilitate efficient SSF value chains and fishing business management

Organizers
Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) 
Contributing organizations
World Wide Fund (WWF), the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) 
Date and modality
7 July 2022 from 15.30 – 17.00 (CEST) online meeting
Objective
This workshop focuses on showcasing different sets of fisher driven applications and technological initiatives created by Abalobi, a non-for profit South African organisation that relate to data empowerment, seafood traceability, fair and transparent supply chains, and community cohesion and entrepreneurship. 
Interpretation

Arabic, English, French, Greek, Italian and Spanish

Agenda

ENGLISH / FRENCH 

Conclusions


ENGLISH / FRENCH  

3 September 2022 I Next generation SSF | Mediterranean and Black Sea SSF dialogue: learning from past experiences for a common future vision giving a voice to small-scale fishers

Organizers
Friends of SSF partner organizations  
Date and modality
3 September 2022
In-person, Città dell’Altra Economia, Rome, Italy
Objective

Celebrating the International Year for Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 (IYAFA) is the perfect opportunity to showcase initiatives and progress made in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region for sustainable small-scale fisheries. From field-level projects to the national and regional implementation of the Regional Plan of Action for small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea (RPOA-SSF), all actors and stakeholders are contributing to more resilient fishing stocks and secured coastal communities. This session aims to open the dialogue with SSF organizations and discuss priorities, challenges, opportunities and future needs to implement the RPOA-SSF in the region. 

This session takes place in the context of the IYAFA 2022 celebration organized by IPC Working Group on Fisheries, SSF Hub and the GFCM, with the support of FAO, from 2-4 September.

Find more information on this link

Interpretation
English, French, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic and Portuguese
Conclusions

Conclusions of the event are available on the following link.

Photos and presentations of the event are available on the IYAFA website  

Agenda
Available in English and French

12 September 2022 I Next generation SSF | The RPOA-SSF in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea at the time of IYAFA: achievements and challenges ahead

Organizers
Friends of SSF partner organizations  
Date and modality
12 September 2022 from 15.30-18.30 (CEST)
Hybrid meeting - in Malta, broadcast on Zoom
Objective

Within the context of the United Nations International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022), this three-hour session will explore the importance of the Regional Plan of Action for small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (RPOA-SSF) while showcasing initiatives and first hand experiences of the Friends of SSF’s members. The session will take a deep dive into some of topics of the RPOA-SSF and address, for example, participation of small-scale fisheries actors in decision-making processes and capacity building, including the current European stakeholder involvement’s status in the Mediterranean, as well as the role of women in fisheries and actions needed for achieving gender equality. This session takes place in the context of the 4th World SSF Congress organized by TBTI in Malta for the Europe region from 12-14 September.

Find more information on this link: https://www.4wsfcongress.com/europe-september-2022 

Agenda
Available here
Registration
Register online on the following link

25 September 2022 I Next generation SSF | Innovations to facilitate efficient SSF value chains: the Foodnected model

Organizers

Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE), the Slow Food organization, Global Footprint Network (GFN), Balearic Group of Ornithology and Nature Defense of Menorca (GOB Menorca), Yolda Initiative, the Center for Protection and Research of Birds in Montenegro (CZIP) and Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby Association (MSJA) 

With the support of the GFCM

Date and modality
25 September 2022 from 11.30-12.30 (CEST)
In-person meeting in Turin, Italy 
Objective
This workshop presents the lessons learned and identified benefits from the piloting of the Foodnected model in multiple pilot sites. The model aims at building and promoting short-distance food systems that ensure increased value for small-scale fisheries products, improved market accessibility for small-scale fishers (e.g. via direct marketing mechanisms) and a producers-consumers reconnection. The model of Foodnected will be presented and SSF will share their experiences.  
Event

Link to the event 

28 October 2022 I Stakeholder-policy interface | Connecting scientists and fishers in the process towards data collection and management of European eel in the Mediterranean PART 2

Organizers

General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)

Date and modality
28 October 2022, 10.00-12.30 (CEST)
Online 
Objective

Following the workshop organized under the hat of IYAFA and the “Escale à Sète” on 14 April 2022, in Sète, France, this second workshop intends to continue enhancing the interactions between scientists and
fishers for European eel in the Mediterranean.


This workshop will disseminate the scientific advice emerging from the GFCM research programme on European eel and the GFCM scientific adviosory committee (SAC). It aims to create a level playing field in the dissemination of information on the outcomes of the scientific work and
the advice stemming from it. 

Agenda

Available here

Interpretation

English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Greek, Italian and Turkish

28 October 2022 I Next generation SSF | Handling equipment and simple vessel adaptations to improve post-release survival of vulnerable species bycatch in small-scale fisheries

Organizers

World Wide Fund (WWF), General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)

Date and modality
28 October 2022, 14.30-16.00 (CEST)
Online
Objective

The incidental catch of vulnerable species in fisheries including in small-scale fisheries is a conservation issue in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Bycatch can bring a number of issues for the daily operation of small-scale fishers, including identification, handling and safe release, and reporting.


Within the context of the MedBycatch project, this session will present and discuss best practices, issues and hands-on solutions regarding the handling of bycatch of vulnerable species in small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean.
Experts and small-scale fisheries workers will present and share their knowledge and experiences and discuss solutions at hand.

For more information about the project see
here

Agenda

Available here

Interpretation

Arabic, Croatian, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish

17 November 2022 I Next generation SSF | Diversifying livelihoods through tourism and other commercial activities

Organizers  General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) 
Contributing organizations International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the World Wide Fund (WWF)  
Date and modality

17 November 2022, 14.30-16.00 (CET) Online

Objective
This workshop focuses on the diversification of activities in the small-scale fisheries sector, giving the spotlight to initiatives led by CIHEAM and WWF on pescatourism. 
 Interpretation
Arabic, Croatian, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish
Agenda  Available here

November 2022 I Stakeholder-policy interface | Getting started: characterize fishing activities in your MPA (postponed to Spring 2023)

Organizers  MedPAN
Date and modality
Postponed to to Spring 2023
Objective
The overall objective of the training is to provide MPA managers and practitioners with the basic knowledge, methodologies and practical skills needed to characterise and establish an initial status of fishing activities in the MPA.
Scope

This training module is to set up an initial status of the fishing activities occurring in and around the MPA. As Mediterranean MPAs are mainly coastal, the training will primarily focus on the characterisation of small-scale and recreational fisheries (including boat fishing, shore fishing and spearfishing). 

However, industrial fishing activities that may also occur within or around some MPAs will be briefly covered. The training will also provide keys to the characterisation of illegal fishing activities, especially poaching. As the first building block of the fisheries training cycle, this core module is to provide MPA managers and practitioners with basic knowledge and simple, straightforward methodologies to start from scratch in characterising fishing activities and get a basic snapshot of the situation in their MPA.

Interpretation
English and French

TARGET PARTICIPANTS

Small-scale fishers, fish workers, SSF organization representatives and other relevant stakeholders of Mediterranean and Black Sea countries are encouraged to register to the online workshops. Fishers and fish workers who actively work in Mediterranean and Black Sea small-scale fisheries are given priorities for in-person workshops, 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 are given priority for funding to support their travel to attend future in-person SSF Forum events.  

MODE AND LANGUAGE

2022 SSF Forum workshops are held via a mix of online and in-person formats (COVID-19 pandemic conditions permitting). Specific logistical details are shared with registered participants in advance of the workshop.  

Unless otherwise noted, interpretation is provided for online workshops in Arabic, English, French and Spanish. Additional languages may be added on an ad hoc basis depending on the interest and language needs of registered participants. 

HOW TO APPLY FOR PARTICIPATION?

To register to participate, kindly complete and submit this form

For any additional questions or further information, please contact [email protected]   

HEAR WHAT FISHERS HAVE TO SAY

Scientists and small-scale fishers

 

Lebanon - participatory approach

Montenegro - scientists and fishers

Turkey - marine protected areas

STEERING COMMITTEE

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. 

When the workshops can be held in person, the Steering Committee reviews applications for participation and evaluates applicant eligibility and funding support. 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 is also sought. 

2021 SSF FORUM PROGRAMME & RECORDINGS

Promoting strong and innovative SSF value chains ( May and July 2021)

Main organizer(s) CIHEAM Bari and the AKTEA Platform 
Objective
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.  
Sessions

The workshop consisted of three sessions:

  • Enhancing SSF value chains: innovations in processing and voluntary labeling (May 2021)(Organized by CIHEAM Bari) AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
  • Enhancing SSF market opportunities through direct selling, processing and sustainable packaging (May 2021) (Organized by CIHEAM Bari) AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
  • Being a woman along the SSF value chain: real life success stories and challenges (July 2021)(Organized by the AKTEA Platform) AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
Conclusions

Summary of key issues and related conclusions available HERE

Decent work and social protection (September 2021)

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) 
Objective
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 consisted of three sessions: 
  • Social protection: what is it and how to overcome barriers for access AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
  • Preparing for a safe fishing trip: do’s and don’ts AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
  • How SSF organizations can promote community-based social protection for members AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
Conclusions Summary of key issues and related conclusions available HERE

Participatory management approaches (October 2021)

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)
Objective
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.     
Sessions

The workshop consisted of three sessions:

  • 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
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
  • Promoting common advisory councils: the experience of MEDAC and other regional organizations (Organized by MEDAC) AGENDA: EN | ES | FR | GR | HR| IT
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
      • Video recording with unedited original simultaneous interpretation.
  • SSF organizations: showcasing initiatives in the region for good organizational management and engagement in co-management processes(Organized by WWF MMI) AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:

Small-scale fishers: guardians of our changing marine environment (December 2021)

Main organizer(s) General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative 
Objective

The changing marine environment presents ever-evolving challenges: from climate change to plastic pollution to reducing interactions with vulnerable species. Within the context of the Day of the Mediterranean on 28 November, 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. 

Sessions

The workshop consisted of three sessions:

  • Strengthening resilience to climate change: mitigation and adaptation strategies (Organized by the GFCM) AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
  • Participating in the circular economy: innovative strategies to address marine litter (Organized by the GFCM) AGENDA
    • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:
  • Fishing more selectively: reducing bycatch and the incidental catch of vulnerable species (Organized by WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative) AGENDA
      • RECORDING OF THE SESSION:

2020 SSF FORUM PROGRAMME 

General Courses

National SSF University days: Addressing common regional SSF issues (10 November 2020)

Organizer FAO Mediterranean Projects (AdriaMedCopeMedIIEastMedMedSudMed) and the BlackSea4Fish project 
When 10 November 2020, 1 day
Where Workshops took place simultaneously in the countries where the FAO Mediterranean Projects and the BlackSea4Fish project operate. The events were hosted by the national research institutes.
Course objective and agenda

The course addressed common regional SSF issues such as collaborative science (including participatory data collection, reporting and monitoring), local ecological knowledge (LEK), climate change and environmental impacts of fishing.

Webnews available here

Target participants Nationals of the participating countries: small-scale fishers, fish workers and representatives of SSF organizations    
Language of instruction Plenary sessions were held in English. Breakout sessions were held in the language of the hosting countries.

Co-management best practices: learning exchange visit (24 November 2020)

Organizer WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative
When 24 November 2020
Where Conil de la Frontera, Spain
Course objective and agenda

The training was organized around a site visit to Conil for approximately 50 participants to exchange experiences and learn about co-management including topics such as traceability, transparency, value addition and marketing, and local tourism.

Webnews available here

Target participants Nationals of Mediterranean countries: small-scale fishers and representatives of SSF organizations
Language of instruction Arabic, English, Spanish, Croatian, Greek, Italian and Turkish
Specialized Courses

Revive, Renew and Relaunch AKTEA (24-26 February 2020)

Organizer European Network of Women in Fisheries and Aquaculture (AKTEA)
When 24-26 February 2020
Where Brussels, Belgium 
Course objective and agenda

The workshop explored the role of women in fisheries and provided training to AKTEA members on the functioning of relevant legislative bodies, such as the EU, and how to make a difference in the legislative and policy making processes of European institutions. The training included a visit to the European Parliament Fisheries Committee and meetings with European law makers.

Workshop agenda (EN) | Webnews

Target participants Women small-scale fishers, fish workers and SSF organization representatives from European Mediterranean countries
Language of instruction English
Contact information
For further information, please contact Katia Frangoudes ([email protected])

Exchange visit in Catalonia (9-12 March 2020)

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Organizer WWF France, in collaboration with LIFE (Low Impact Fishers of Europe), the Natural marine park of Gulf of Lion and the National park of Calanques
When 9-12 March 2020
Where Catalonian region, Spain 
Course objective and agenda

The training aimed at raising awareness on fisheries sustainability and co-management and strengthening the capacity of fishers to sell their fish at a fairer price. It included meetings with the Catalonian government, fishers and scientists. 

Workshop agenda (FR)

Target participants French nationals: small-scale fishers and representatives of SSF organizations
Language of instruction French and Spanish
Contact information
If you wish to have further information, please contact Andrea Sabbio ([email protected])