Unacceptable Working Conditions in Global Fishing:  Lawlessness, Criminality, or Enabling Policies and Political Economies?

Recent academic research and NGO/union campaigns have shown how working conditions in fisheries are often unacceptable, not only in Asia, but around the world, and in both coastal and distant water fisheries.  Melissa Marschke and Peter Vandergeest assess the common explanations for this situation, and review policies that could improve working conditions by reducing worker vulnerability and facilitating worker collective action.

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What Do Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and Locally-led Adaptation (LLA) Mean for Small-scale Fisheries?

This talk will briefly introduce two emerging approaches - Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and Locally-led Adaptation (LLA) - in context of climate crisis and will discuss the currently available standards/principles related to them. Using a couple of SSF cases, this talk will then explore the challenges and opportunities to capitalize on these novel concepts to influence our efforts in the context of SSF's vulnerability and viability, especially in the knowledge/evidence creation and system/policy influencing spaces.

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Democratising South Africa’s Inland Fisheries: From Colonial Objectives to Constitutional Imperatives

In February of 2022, the South Africa National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment gazetted the national inland fisheries policy. This marks the first time in South Africa’s history, that inland small-scale and traditional fishers are recognised within the legislative framework. Until now, South Africa’s inland fisheries has been dominated by recreational fisheries, a product of colonial prioritise. In this presentation, we explore how colonial policies shaped inland fisheries and the transition to a democratic sector that is now aligned with the constitution of the country

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Transformations Towards Ocean Equity and Blue Justice

Transformations towards ocean equity and blue justice are needed to address the inequitable distribution of access to ocean benefits and resources, as well as disproportionate exposure to harms. Yet, actions that fundamentally restructure relationships between people and oceans are highly political and can produce substantial risks for coastal communities and the marine environment. This seminar explores recent scholarship and practice on navigating this critical and complex space.

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The Words We Need For The Ocean We Share: New Concepts For The Viability of Small-scale Fisheries

Milena Arias-Schreiber uses a justice lens to illustrate how new concepts are needed to describe the experiences of the small-scale fisheries people in living under multiple pressures including blue growth and blue economy. She examines how some of the new concepts can contribute to strengthening the viability of small-scale fisheries. Departing from the origin of the term Blue Justice, Dr. Schreiber will show how concepts can be co-produced through transdisciplinarity processes and what contributions they can bring to the future ocean discourses. Her presentation is based on a recent co-authored article in Marine Policy focusing on “Blue Justice and the co-production of hermeneutical resources for small-scale fisheries”.

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Getting to Viability from Vulnerability: Where Does Resilience Come In?

There are several aspects of transitioning from vulnerability to viability. The primary approach identifies vulnerabilities and tries to reduce them. But what happens when new kinds of shocks impact the SSF? These may include changes in markets and fishery regulations, climate change, and impacts of the Blue Economy. SSFs are constantly facing these mostly unpredictable shocks. That is why we need to consider resilience, which is about options, flexibility, and the capacity to deal with unpredictable change. This seminar covers resilience basics, examples of principles for enhancing resilience, and SSF community resilience, with illustrations.

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Happiness and Mindfulness for Transitioning From Vulnerability to Viability

Mindfulness is the source of happiness, which brings awareness of our connection with the environment around us and helps us live in harmony and peace with it. Also, mindfulness builds us for viability and resilience with changes in our lives. The ultimate goal (not the purpose) of every human being ultimately happens to be happiness and well and mindfulness prepares us towards it. It transits us from emotionally harming ourselves to being able to work successfully towards viability. Happiness follows success, viability over vulnerability, and not the other way around.

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Addressing The Systemic Causes of Small-scale Actors’ Vulnerability In Aquatic Food Systems: The CGIAR Resilient Aquatic Food Systems Initiative

A flourishing of research and policy engagement – including that by the V2V network – has led to increased understanding of the multiple causes of vulnerability in small-scale fisheries and has identified pathways to viability, including through the application of the FAO voluntary guidelines on small-scale fisheries. In this presentation, Dr. Edward H. Allison argues that both the research and policies are sufficiently well developed to support viable pathways to enable small-scale fisheries and fisherfolk to thrive, but that there has been a systematic underinvestment in implementing the proposed reforms. He further argues that this underinvestment will persist unless five systemic failings at the research-policy-practice interface are addressed. These are:
(i) shortcomings in the data and information required by decision-makers and investors, (ii) lack of effective partnerships with other food-system and ‘blue economy’ actors outside the fisheries sector, (iii) continuing exclusion of small-scale aquatic food system actors from large-scale water resource and coastal zone management planning, (iv) failure to recognize common-cause with sustainable aquaculture that complements (rather than displaces) fisheries and; (v) exclusion of the aquatic food systems from national systems of innovation in agriculture and food.  In all these areas, a failure to address social and power differentials within the sector – gender, class, ethnicity and landlessness – exacerbates vulnerability and hinders the path to viability.

This argument is the basis for the CGIAR’s new USD 35 million 3 year- research initiative on Resilient Aquatic Food Systems (RAqFS) – which seeks to galvanize policy action and investment to address the five key systemic failings identified above. This presentation introduces the RAqFS initiative’s proposed program of work and invites collaboration and welcomes participants’ insights and discussion.

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Small-Scale Fisher Leadership in Environmental Stewardship

This presentation discusses the leadership of small-scale fisher communities and organizations in protecting and restoring local environments and engaging in fishery management activities. Such environmental stewardship supports and enhances the viability of fishing livelihoods, as well as demonstrating that bottom-up community-based conservation can be the most effective way to produce big conservation benefits. As a result, it is strategically important for governments and others to support this activity through policy, financing and capacity, and through assuring the rights and access of small-scale fishers to resources, so their conservation work can continue. Toward these goals, a current FAO-supported project is documenting small-scale fisheries stewardship around the world (www.ssf-stewardship.net).

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