Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries – A Global Scan, Volume 1
Editors: Vesna Kerezi, Dorota Kinga Pietruszka & Ratana Chuenpagdee
Publisher: TBTI Global

Small-scale fisheries provide livelihoods and food security to millions of women and men around the word. They make important contribution to the local and national economy, as well as represent diverse value, cultural identity and heritage of many coastal communities. As commitments are being made to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), small-scale fisheries have even more prominent role to play, given their connection to land and sea and their intersection with all goals. Unfortunately, in the framing of the oceans as the new economic and development frontier, many development initiatives, promoted through Blue Growth and Blue Economy agenda, tend to ignore small-scale fisheries, excluding them from the discussion and putting them in disadvantaged situations.

It does not have to be this way. Some of these development agendas promote social and economic development objectives that align well with small-scale fisheries characteristics and values. More needs to be done to encourage good alignments as well as to adjust and re-balance sustainable development initiatives to fully benefit from the current and potential contributions of small-scale fisheries in achieving all SDGs. Pushing towards a more equitable and just space for small-scale fisheries requires, first and foremost, an understanding of the current situations, looking at the kind of injustices and inequity that may be happening and affecting women and men involved in small-scale fisheries, their families and their communities.  

With this in mind, TBTI has gathered stories and examples of policies, programs, projects, initiatives, regulatory frameworks, as well as other situations that create different types of injustice and inequity in small-scale fisheries. This first release of the ‘Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries – A Global Scan’ e-book contains 18 stories from 14 countries. These stories are also captured in the new ISSF ‘Blue Justice Alert’ dataset that allows anyone (including you!) to alert the world about injustice and other threats for small-scale fisheries in communities, regions, countries, etc.

We will continue to collect Blue Justice stories, which will be included in Volume II, to be published at a later date. If you would like to make contribution, click here.

Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries: What, why and how

Introductory chapter to the e-book by Ratana Chuenpagdee  

 Blue Justice is a critical examination of how small-scale fisheries and their communities may be affected by Blue Economy and Blue Growth initiatives that promote sustainable ocean development but neglect small-scale fisheries and their contribution to ocean sustainability. We extend the concept to inland fisheries, which are similarly affected by landbased development that put them at risk and disadvantage them.

By: Alice Joan G. Ferrer 
Location: Nueva Valencia, Philippines
Distributive, Social, Economic & Regulatory

 … local people claimed that they are even prohibited to enter the area that was for years their source of food and income. When they did enter the area, they were under suspicion to fish…

By: Alicia Saldaña, Silvia Salas & Ratana Chuenpagdee
Location: Sisal, Mexico
Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural

 …subsidy programs are only allocated to (…) fishers who belong to a fishing cooperative, marginalizing those fishers that lack fishing permits or work independently…

By: Ana Carolina Esteves Dias
Location: Paraty, Brazil
Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental

 …even though Caiçara have traditional rights to use local resources to sustain livelihoods under the National Traditional peoples’ legislation (…), their rights are being withdrawn… 

By: Ana Isabel Márquez Pérez
Location: Old Providence & Santa Catalina Island, Colombia
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Environmental 

 …the Raizal people have the right to prior consultation regarding any decision made about the Archipelago (…) to defend territorial and cultural rights…

By: Beven F. Chinamasa
Location: Binga / Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Social, Economic, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Environmental

 …It is difficult for the villagers to pay the US$5 daily levy to fish, when most of them are living on less than a dollar a day…. 

By: Cécile Schneider
Location: Ambanja and Nosy Be district, Madagascar
Social, Regulatory 

 …Illegal mangrove charcoal producers continue to produce charcoal with relative
impunity, while coastal fishers… are denied from doing so on the grounds that their actions are
deemed illegal…

By: Erwin Prayogi
Location: Sabintulung Village, Indonesia
Social, Economic, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental

…The villagers often feel desperate in their fight for justice as there had been no significant changes for a long time. They no longer trust the government or their neighbours…

By: Fernanda Fitzmaurice & Gabriel López
Location: Puerto Libertad, Mexico
Social, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Procedural

…This has caused social problems in the community, such as alcoholism and violence, and neither the government nor private investors informed the community…

By: Iftekhar Ahmed Fagun
Location: Hussen Para Village, Bangladesh
Distributive, Social, Economic, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Environmental

…The community faces the impacts of frequent natural disasters linked with climate change (…) forcing fishers to cut their trips short (…) [as] boats and nets are destroyed, and workers get injured…

By: Lina M. Saavedra-Díaz et al.
Location: Don Jaca, Bello Horizonte, Ciénaga, and Tasajera (Colombia)
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental

…Fishing is no longer profitable as current catches cannot even cover fuel expenses…

By: Lina M. Saavedra-Díaz et al.
Location: Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental

…The fishing ban dispossessed commercial, artisanal fishers from their rights to fish in their traditional fishing grounds, escalating the conflicts between Park officials and fishers…

By: César Viteri et al.
Location: Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador
Distributive, Social, Economic, Procedural

…how a top-down decision, taken under a contested process, disrupted an ongoing participatory dialogue … resulted in an unfair distribution of costs and economic opportunities for stakeholders…

By: Marta C. Calosso
Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Regulatory, Procedural,

…Enforcement agencies disproportionately target fisherfolk… and corruption is widespread, whereas, the well organized, well-financed, industrial poaching operations from neighbouring countries are largely left unaddressed….

By: Md. Ruyel Miah & Mohammad Mahmudul Islam
Location: Saint Martin’s Island, Bangladesh
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural

…Foreign fishers enter Bangladesh waters with modern equipped fishing gear and harvest the fish. This kind of activity creates conflicts between the two nations, and the local communities suffer the most….

By: Tek Bahadur Gurung
Location: Pokhara, Nepal
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural,

…In Nepal, the majority of lake resources are owned by the government and available for public use, including fishing. However, the government shows little interest in restoring degraded resources…

By: Yinji Li
Location: Inatori, Shizuoka, Japan
Social, Regulatory, Procedural, Covid-19 related

…a strong sense of unfairness and injustice has been growing among fishers, notably since the Kinme fish stock has declined and is still not in a stable condition…

By: Yin Nyein et al.
Location: Gulf of Mottama, Myanmar
Infrastructure/wellbeing, Other: enslavement, safety at work, violence, access to nutrition,
blocked communication with family members

…many of the fishers have experienced slave-like conditions, including physical confinement on the rafts for extended periods.  with no prospect of setting foot ashore for periods of up to 9 months…

By: Vivienne Solis
Location: Barra del Colorado, Costa Rica
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural

…The issue of traditional fishing rights and tenure rights is fundamental, as well as the issue of traditional knowledge related to the use of marine resources in the area….

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