Sunday 4 February 2024

Inshore fishermen - doing what you do best - the Canadian way

 

Small-scale fisheries, including fishers and fishworkers as well as their communities and organizations, are effective contributors to safeguarding aquatic resources and environments. The key role played by small-scale fisheries is well recognized in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and in the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). Such stewardship contributes importantly to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and to implementing the Global Biodiversity Framework.

This publication highlights stewardship by small-scale fisheries, with a focus on real-world examples, thanks to the active participation of many small-scale fishing communities and organizations in sharing their experiences (see also https://ssfstewardship.net). Four main themes are explored:

(i) Key motivations and influences on stewardship practices. For small-scale fishers, stewardship is expressed as both a perspective and a practice, a way of engaging with the natural world and the local environment, with values, relationships, culture and spiritual aspects motivating stewardship action, along with securing sustainable livelihoods and community well-being.

(ii) Six types of stewardship in small-scale fisheries: maintaining, restoring and improving local habitat and ecosystems; improving fishing practices and post-harvest practices; engaging in fishery management for sustainable use; stewardship of specific aquatic areas; stewardship of particular aquatic species (such as endangered species); and stewardship through outreach and advocacy.

(iii) Supporting and/or enabling activities underlying stewardship. These build capacity for or motivate direct stewardship, creating an enabling environment based on recognising and reinforcing secure tenure, rights and access; knowledge development; building community and organisational capacity; and education and communications.

(iv) Lessons learned, good practices and ingredients for success in stewardship, which include attention to values and ethics; local leadership and responsibility; diverse knowledge and perspectives; cohesion and trust in the community and organisation; empowerment and capacity to participate in decision-making and management; appropriate partnerships and external support; and supportive government policy and legislation.

Overall, it is clear that support for fishing communities and organizations in their environmental stewardship is a valuable contributor to a sustainable future, as they lead the way in restoring local environments and stewarding resources.