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A global coalition of partners working in and with small-scale fisheries has launched the Small-Scale Fisheries Resource and Collaboration Hub, or SSF Hub, a multilingual, interactive online platform to strengthen small-scale fisheries governance and community development. The launch of the SSF Hub coincides with the annual meeting of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s Committee on Fisheries taking place this week, and responds to the FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (or SSF Guidelines) to support the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and fishing communities.
“Fishing is the backbone of coastal and inland fisheries communities around the globe, providing food and nutrition, supporting fishing-related jobs, helping alleviate poverty, sustaining a cultural connection to the sea and freshwater systems, and with a huge influence on biodiversity,” said Dr. Simon Cripps, executive director of Marine Conservation for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “The SSF Hub will connect fishers and other stakeholders around the world to learn from each other, share information and will ultimately promote improved well-being, sustainable use of the sea and improved freshwater and marine nature conservation,” he added.
Small-scale fisheries make many essential contributions to healthy ocean and freshwater ecosystems, food and nutrition security, livelihoods and poverty alleviation worldwide. The SSF Hub fills a critical need to help fishers and fishing communities share their stories and experiences with their peers around the world and to access the latest innovations and research about small-scale fisheries.
SSF Hub community members can participate across 20 languages, and they can access online discussion forums, regional and topic-based groups, infographics, practical tools to support local decision-making, videos and case studies. This enables this global small-scale fisheries community to connect and collaborate like never before. The SSF Hub is user friendly — accessible via mobile device or computer — and includes instant translation so the community can interact without language barriers.
“Having access to information and experiences from around the world contributes to the empowerment of small-scale fisheries actors, allowing them to better engage in or lead decision-making processes about their livelihoods,” said Vera Agostini, deputy director of the Fisheries Division at FAO. “It also allows development partners to learn about each other’s tools and experiences and open up opportunities for the kind of partnerships and synergies we will need to implement the SSF Guidelines.”
“Fishing and aquatic foods are critical to meeting our global need for nutrition and livelihoods,” said Jenny Oates, Knowledge Development Manager at Blue Ventures. “Nine out of 10 full-time and part-time jobs in the fishing industry are in small-scale fisheries, and about half of the workforce are women. Nearly all the fish caught by small-scale fishers is consumed locally. Small-scale fishers deserve support, and the SSF Hub is one way we can support one another.”
“I appreciate the Hub because it's focused on SSF. First time I've seen it [a site like this] focused more on the fisher folks,” said Mario Gasalatan, Oceana logistics coordinator and fisher representative from Cebu City, Philippines.
The SSF Hub was designed for and with fishers, fish workers and their communities and allies through a participatory process, with the goal of empowering them to share knowledge and learn from one another. Over 100 people from 19 different countries — representing fisher organizations, conservation groups and expert advisers — have provided input throughout the Hub’s development. This valuable collaboration has led to the creation of SSF features such as forums where users can communicate on topics of interest, share stories and ask questions. Hub visitors can also access a library of resources containing case studies, management tools, free online courses and other materials from FAO, NGOs and others. The SSF Hub will be continuously updated with the latest in SSF-friendly technology, research and successes.
“Through the Hub, the SSF community is taking one more important step toward building capacity worldwide to manage fisheries sustainably so that communities can thrive despite the many challenges they face — from climate change to COVID to food and nutrition security,” said Eric Schwaab, senior vice president for EDF Oceans and Ecosystems programs. “The SSF Hub is designed to give fishers the tools they need to succeed against these and other challenges.”
The SSF Hub can support delivery of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, which include ending poverty, reducing inequality, protecting the planet and ensuring health and well-being. Small-scale fisheries are critical to achieving many of these goals, including helping to alleviate poverty, establish food security, support good health and nutrition and provide economic security to millions of people. Recognizing the role of small-scale fisheries in supporting thriving communities and in achieving the SDGs is an important pathway toward a more sustainable future for all.
ABALOBI ICT4FISHERIES is an African-based, fisher-driven social enterprise with global reach. ABALOBI’s mission is to contribute towards thriving, equitable and sustainable small-scale fishing communities in South Africa and beyond, through the joint development of technology. Our approach focuses on achieving tangible milestones, driven by a suite of mobile apps, that relate to seafood traceability, fully documented fisheries, fair and transparent supply chains, and community cohesion and entrepreneurship as important precursors to launching longer-term ecological improvement actions associated with a transition towards ecological sustainability. Follow us on Twitter @abalobi_app or visit our website abalobi.org
Blue Ventures develops transformative approaches for catalysing and sustaining locally led marine conservation. Blue Ventures works across the coastal tropics, in places where the ocean is vital to local cultures and economies, and is committed to protecting marine biodiversity in ways that benefit coastal people. Blue Ventures' models play a critical role in rebuilding small-scale fisheries, providing effective and replicable approaches for reversing biodiversity loss, improving food security and building socio-ecological resilience to climate change. Connect with us on Twitter @BlueVentures
Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Environmental Defense Fund
One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 2.5 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund
Fauna & Flora International
FFI protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and take account of human needs. Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide, FFI saves species from extinction and habitats from destruction, while improving the livelihoods of local people. Founded in 1903, FFI is the world’s longest established international conservation body and a registered charity. Find out more on our website fauna-flora.org or connect with us on Twitter @faunafloraint
International Pole & Line Foundation
The International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) promotes the sustainable management ofthe world’s responsible pole-and-line, handline and troll (collectively known as ‘one-by- one’) tuna fisheries while also recognising the importance of safeguarding the livelihoods they support. IPNLF’s work to develop, support and promote one-by-one tuna fisheries is subsequently fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We believe effective and equitable global governance is essential to protect and restore the ocean, and this should be achieved by ensuring the participation of local and coastal communities in decision-making processes.
Environmental sustainability in tuna fisheries can only be fully achieved by also putting an end to the overfishing and destructive fishing practices that are driving the degradation of already threatened marine species, habitats and ecosystems. Allied with its members, IPNLF demonstrates the value of one-by-one caught tuna to consumers, policymakers and throughout the supply chain. IPNLF works across science, policy and the seafood sector, using an evidence- based, solutions-focused approach with strategic guidance from our Board of Trustees and advice from our Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and Market Advisory Group (MAG).
Ocean Outcomes (O2) is an international organization working with local communities, fisheries and the seafood industry to improve the environmental, social and economic sustainability of fisheries. Ocean Outcomes’ science-based improvement initiatives include assessments, supply chain analysis, buyer engagement, traceability programs, fishery improvement projects and stakeholder convening. By restoring and protecting fisheries, Ocean Outcomes supports the long-term health of local communities, seafood supply chains and the ocean resources on which we all depend. Learn more at oceanoutcomes.org
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.oceana.org to learn more.
Wildlife Conservation Society
With more than 4,000 staff, the Wildlife Conservation Society operates in nearly 60 countries, protecting the entire known range of more than 100 threatened species and 3.6 million square miles across four continents and the world’s ocean. WCS’s global marine program designs and implements innovative ocean solutions, leading field conservation initiatives across 24 countries in all 5 oceans with a team of more than 400 marine experts. Our programs in coastal biodiversity strongholds strengthen ocean protection, improve fisheries management, and conserve vital marine species. We focus on sustainable fisheries, coral reefs, MPA creation and management, sharks & rays and marine mammals.
World Wildlife Fund
WWF is an independent conservation organization with over 30 million followers and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. Our mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit panda.org/news for the latest news and media resources; follow us on Twitter @WWF_media
Miriam Bozzetto, Campaign Analyst, Oceana in Brazil
“Small-scale fisheries are essential for the survival of thousands of Brazilians. It is the only source of income for families that have historically lived from artisanal fishing. Although Brazil has not had fisheries statistics for over a decade, we know that 70% of the country's fish come from small-scale fishing. It is essential that governments and non-governmental entities working in the fisheries area understand the importance and diversity of small-scale fisheries in order to ensure that public policies be implemented to guarantee the rights of these workers, as well as that the sustainability of these activities can be strengthened.”
Agatha Ogada, Fisheries Partner Support Technician, Kenya, Blue Ventures
“The challenges faced in small-scale fisheries and those who rely on them are immense. Through the SSF hub, those working in this field can connect, exchange learning and improve practice. For example, in discussion with a small-scale fisheries expert in the Pacific, I could hear about ideas that could be adapted to tackle issues we face in Kenya. The hub provides a dedicated space to discuss, celebrate success and create innovative solutions for small-scale fisheries.”
Imani Fairweather Morrison, Programme Officer, Global Small Scale Fisheries, Oak Foundation
“Small Scale Fishers are understandably interested in the sustainability of their livelihoods and coastal communities. This SSF Hub brings solutions, generated by NGO partners, to fishers around the world in multiple languages and empowers them to source and apply solutions they find most relevant for their local context. We trust that the fisher engagement in its design will result in high energy use and uptake, empowering fishers to participate in the governance of fisheries worldwide.”
John Tanzer, Ocean Practice Leader, World Wildlife Fund
“With the mounting threats to ocean health and coastal community well-being, we must be more efficient about developing and implementing community-led solutions. The SSF Hub is a powerful tool to accelerate knowledge sharing, build capacity and increase influence for small-scale fishers.”
Dr. Philippa Cohen, Research Program Leader, Resilient Small-scale Fisheries, WorldFish
“Small-scale fisheries are characterised as being complex and dynamic. Rather than naively suggesting there is a one size fits all approach to including small-scale fishers, or sustaining benefits from SSF, this SSF hub is an incredibly valuable collection of resources and knowledge that have been developed with small-scale fishers, in different places, for different contexts and for a range of objectives.”
Roy Bealey, Fisheries Director, International Pole & Line Foundation
“Over the next decade it is essential that we band together to improve ocean health and ensure that small scale fisheries can continue sustainably providing critical support to their reliant communities. Cooperation will be key while the SSF Hub provides a powerful and timely tool to help us succeed together.”
Sophie Benbow, Head of Marine, Fauna & Flora International
“FFI support small scale fishing communities globally to engage in biodiversity friendly fishing practises. The SSF Hub provides an excellent opportunity for fishers themselves to connect with peers around the world, to learn and share experiences, and to improve their techniques and enhance sustainability.”