Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication

This project is building an environment that allows all – including vulnerable and marginalised groups, women and youth – to benefit from sustainable small-scale fisheries, based on the recommendations in the SSF Guidelines. It covers small-scale fisheries in both marine and inland waters along the value chain, including the post-harvestsector.

Primary beneficiaries of this project are fishers and fish workers and their communities and organizations, as well as national authorities responsible for fisheries governance, regional organizations involved in processes relevant for small-scale fisheries, and research partners.

Our partner, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is supporting the project Creating an enabling environment for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries from 2019 until the end of 2022.

We aim to:

  • Help end poverty in fishing communities and make sure fishers and fish workers can improve their own situation
  • Make sure ecosystems and aquatic resources are managed and used sustainably
  • Stop the marginalization of fishers and fish workers, and make sure they are better organised, have a stronger voice and participate in decision-making processes
  • Improve policies, laws, institutions and the frameworks that guide and shape them
  • Enhance the contribution of small-scale fisheries to global food security and nutrition and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food

We firmly believe that improved governance of small-scale fisheries contributes to the eradication of hunger and poverty, to sustainable development and to the sustainable use of the environment. Our work is grounded in a human-rights based approach, has a strong gender equity focus, and contributes to reaching the sustainable development goals.

Four interlinked components for sustainable small-scale fisheries
The project Creating an enabling environment for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries is structured in the same way as the umbrella it is nested under, the FAO Umbrella Programme for the promotion and application of the SSF Guidelines – Enhancing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and sustainable livelihoods ( FAO SSF Umbrella Programme).

The work we do – in the project and the programme alike – is organized into four components:

  • Raising awareness, where we focus on reaching out with information about the SSF Guidelines to small-scale fishers and fish workers as well as to governments, researchers and others – through our website, newsletter, and various publications, videos and other resources.
  • Strengthening the science-policy interface, where we support collecting data, and developing and sharing methods for data collection. Better information for policy makers and other stakeholders shape better policies and practices for small-scale fisheries.
  • Empowering stakeholders, where we strengthen small-scale fisheries organizations as well as government institutions to be drivers of change for more sustainable small-scale fisheries – because a participatory and inclusive approach is vital to the road ahead.
  • Supporting implementation, where we help build collaborations and create platforms for multiple actors in small-scale fisheries to meet, discuss, and align their efforts to implement the SSF Guidelines for the benefit of all. We also help develop ways to monitor progress.

Current activities
We work closely with our FAO offices and a multitude of partners in Africa and the Near East, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.  Our project activities span over global, regional, national and local levels.

For instance, we work with small-scale fisheries organizations in Africa , we support  the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations (CNFO) to promote fisher-led implementation of the SSF Guidelines in the Caribbean region, and we are backing the Network of Small-scale Fishers of the Indigenous Peoples of Central America. We also work with regional intergovernmental organisations and structures, such as for example the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM),  the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and the Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (CECAF).

In ten countries, we are right now giving comprehensive support to put in motion the development of National Plans of Action or similar holistic approaches to implement the SSF Guidelines (Senegal, Tanzania, Madagascar, Namibia and Philippines) strengthen women in fisheries (Oman), build on earlier work to empower fisheries organizations and influence policies (Costa Rica) and to complement other FAO initiatives to empower fishing communities (Myanmar, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal).

Related publications
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Hon Derek Klazen, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources launching Namibia’s National Plan of Action for Small Scale Fisheries on 09 June 2022 in Swakopmund, Erongo Region. ...
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