Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication

Indigenous peoples workshop on governance in fisheries

02/09/2019 - 04/09/2019 Panama

In the context of implementing the SSF Guidelines, FAO has supported capacity development among indigenous peoples, and also supported the indigenous peoples' own initiative to establish the Alliance of Central American Indigenous Fishers (Alianza de Pescadores Indígenas Centroamericanos in Spanish) on December 7th, 2018 in San José, Costa Rica.

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Photo from an Alliance of Central American Indigenous Fishers meeting ©Carlos Pulgarin

At the beginning of September, the Alliance, hosted a workshop on territorial governance in fishing called Towards an own methodology for valuing our territorial governance based on the revitalization of the various forms of Central American indigenous fishing for the affirmation of territorial management in Panama City, with support from FAO and the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples for Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC, in Spanish).

In this workshop, representatives from the Alliance and government representatives came together to discuss four main areas:

  1. Leadership, indigenous leadership, and traditional authorities.
  2. Community, territory, town, people, families, clans.
  3. Territorial management and management of fishery ecosystems.
  4. Resource management for the indigenous economy in fisheries management.

The outcomes of these discussions will be compiled into a guide on responsible and participatory indigenous fishery governance.
For more information, contact Carlos E Pulgarin, [email protected], and Veronica Chicas, [email protected]


Central American indigenous peoples inhabit and share vital ties with water ecosystems, which are an essential part of their cultural heritage. These water ecosystems are also key to food sovereignty and in many cases the main source of livelihood. Indigenous peoples live along vast stretches of coast by the Caribbean Sea, as well as near inland waters and by the Pacific Sea.
Regrettably, these Central American indigenous peoples' territories are seeing high levels of poverty and malnutrition. Factors such as weak territorial planning, industrialization, climate change, and absence of participation, have marginalized indigenous peoples and threated their cultural practices and the ecosystems they depend on.