Directives volontaires visant à assurer la durabilité de la pêche artisanale
dans le contexte de la sécurité alimentaire et de l'éradication de la pauvreté

Implementing the SSF Guidelines in the Near East and North Africa Region

27/07/2020

The following text gives a brief overview of the initiatives that have taken place in the Near East and North African (NENA) region since the endorsement of the SSF Guidelines. These initiatives align with the findings and recommendations of the regional consultation held in 2015 'Towards the implementation of the SSF Guidelines in the Near East and North Africa Region'.

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Turkish fisher setting a net. ©GFCM

This overview will first provide a brief summary of current FAO-led initiatives to implement the SSF Guidelines in the NENA region, followed by an introduction to key partners and non-FAO initiatives, and lastly link to documents for further reading.

FAO-led initiatives

  • FAO supports the implementation of the SSF Guidelines and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal target 14.b on providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets in North Africa. In Tunisia and Algeria, a technical cooperation project, the Blue Hope Initiative, is assisting stakeholders in the development of investment plans.
  • Furthermore, in order to support the management of marine and inland small-scale fisheries in the sub-region, FAO is working with partners on improved data collection. A sub-regional initiative for an inventory on small-scale fisheries has been initiated to complement activities like the MedSudMed qualitative mapping of small-scale fisheries in Italy, Malta Libya and Tunisia. The overall scope of the inventory is to obtain a clear picture of the status of the small-scale fisheries sector and to identify fishing grounds and the most sustainable and economic viable fishing methods.
  • Within the context of a Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM) project in FAO to enable women to benefit more equally from agri-food value chains, national awareness raising workshops on the SSF Guidelines have taken place in a number of African countries, including Tunisia. The workshops targeted women in particular and focus was placed on chapters 6-8 of the SSF Guidelines and produced this guide for clam collectors.
  • FAO has supported the establishment of a sub-regional network for small-scale fisheries actors in North Africa: the Maghreb Platform for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries. Support continues to strengthen this organization, including training, formulation of an action plan and preparation of communication, technical products and guidelines. The Platform has among other things established the first protected marine area created by fishers in Algeria and organised workshops on the recommendations of the SSF Guidelines.
  • Recently, within the framework of the Regional Plan of Action for Small-scale Fisheries (see below for more detail), a 'Small-Scale Fisheries University' has been set up consisting of a variety of training courses directed in particular to small-scale fisheries actors in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region. Courses are organized by GFCM, FAO and partners, including by members of the 'Friends of SSF' network that has been set up for collaborating on the implementation of the RPOA-SSF.
  • The need to address social protection challenges was identified in the RPOA-SSF and consequently a study on 'Social protection for small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean region' was commissioned and published in 2019. The study identifies the conditions and vulnerabilities of fishers, along with best practices in the provision of social protection programs and policies and proposes recommendations to improve the coverage and effective delivery of social protection programmes for small-scale fishers in Albania, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
  • In Oman, the project, 'Capacity Development of Coastal Women Associations on Small-Scale Invertebrate Fishery in Al Wusta Governorate' is designed to empower a group of coastal women in Al-Wusta Governorate, through supporting the establishment of pilot coastal women fisheries associations within the framework of the Women's Association in Oman. These associations will help increase women's access to resources, assets, services, technologies and economic opportunities. It will also support them in implementing trials to increase their productivity, profitability, and their participation from production through to processing and sales of marine products.
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Maltese fisher organizing equipment. © FAO

Regional Actors

Many of our partners in the region are making significant efforts to support the implementation of the SSF Guidelines. Here are some of the key regional organizations in the Near East and North Africa worth noting for this.

The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean – GFCM

  • The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is a regional fisheries management organization working to ensure the conservation and the sustainable use of living marine resources in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea. The GFCM has a permanent working group on small-scale fisheries established in September 2017.
  • In 2018, the GFCM endorsed the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (RPOA-SSF). The RPOA-SSF is a political commitment setting forth concrete actions to be carried out over the next ten years (until 2028) in order to strengthen and support sustainable small-scale fisheries in the region. It aims at establishing objectives, principles and recommendations laid out in the SSF Guidelines in order to ensure the long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability of SSF. In 2018, the GFCM endorsed the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (RPOA-SSF). The RPOA-SSF is a political commitment setting forth concrete actions to be carried out over the next ten years (until 2028) in order to strengthen and support sustainable small-scale fisheries in the region. It aims at establishing objectives, principles and recommendations laid out in the SSF Guidelines in order to ensure the long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability of SSF.
  • The GFCM furthermore supports the implementation of a mid-term strategy (2017–2020) towards the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries, which includes a target to "Support livelihoods for coastal communities through sustainable small-scale fisheries' and a specific output dedicated to the implementation of the SSF Guidelines in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

The Friends of Small-Scale Fisheries

  • The Friends of Small-Scale Fisheries platform is a regional network of non-state actors sharing common interests and objectives for the sector. The platform is aimed at promoting transnational cooperation and building synergies among ongoing work in the region and was established in support of the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (RPOA-SSF).
  • The "Friends of SSF' platform was officially launched on 26 September 2018 on the occasion of the "High-level conference on sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea', and consists of the GFCM (co-coordinator), the World Wildlife Fund for Nature - Mediterranean Marine Initiative (WWF-MMI) (co-coordinator), the Black Sea Advisory Council (BLSAC), the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAM-BARI), Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) and Mediterranean Advisory Council (MEDAC).

The Maghreb Platform for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

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Tunisian fishing vessel ©FAO

The Maghreb Platform for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheriesis an consortium of national small-scale fisheries organisations working to ensure better representation and livelihoods of fishers and fishworkers along the North African coast.

Their vision is for all small-scale fishers who are members of the organisation to be able to exercise their profession in order to secure a decent way of life, by engaging in sustainable activities with respect for the environment.

This is being achieved by developing local organizational and management capacities to promote the effective participation of populations, especially women and young people, in community and local development processes. This process promotes concepts of sustainable exploitation of natural resources.

The organisation uses the SSF Guidelines as their frame of reference in improving the living conditions of rural populations, particularly through securing better access to infrastructure. In this way they can increase the diversification of income of the most vulnerable groups in the artisanal fishing population, in particular by facilitating access to markets and financial services.

Tips for further reading

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