Blue Justice: Small-Scale Fisheries are Too Important to Fail!

Social justice is a key concern of fisheries governance since many stakeholders rely on the same resources. Large-scale, industrialized fisheries, for instance, exploit fisheries resources for commercial purposes and trade, while for small-scale fisheries, these resources are their main sources of livelihoods, community wellbeing and food security. Fisheries management is mostly targeted at the former, with favorable policies and subsidies that provide support for their expansion and development. Small-scale fisheries, on the other hand, are bigger in number and in their contribution to the society, but receive much less support. The imbalance in fisheries policies and governance creates unfair competition between the sectors, further marginalizing small-scale fisheries and those who depend on them for their wellbeing. The focus on a “Blue Economy” in many new initiatives raises questions about whether it will add to this imbalance or help to correct it.

At the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in October this year, the concept “Blue Justice” was presented and discussed, urging all involved actors to critically examine what “Blue Economy” and “Blue Growth” initiatives mean to small-scale fisheries and their communities, in terms of distributive justice, community empowerment, human rights, food and nutritional security, gender equity, and sustainability.

In this spirit, we invite you to make commitment to “Blue Justice” and share your thought and story on the topic. Here are a few things that you can do.

(1) Take video of yourself, saying how you are committed to “Blue Justice” (see trailer). We’ll collate all the submission and make it into a video that will be used for the campaign. You can just send your signature in lieu of the video. The videos can be sent via We Transfer link (insert the [email protected] as the recipient email).

(2) Send us stories and experiences that you and the small-scale fisheries communities you work with have on social justice concerns and issues. You can send your story to [email protected]. If you have any photos accompanying your story, please send them via We Transfer link (insert the [email protected] as the recipient email).

(3) Send us some thoughtsabout what you are committed to do, and what you think we should collectively do to ensure “Blue Justice” for the world’s small-scale fisheries by using the Commentsection below.