World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress

The World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress (WSFC) is a transdisciplinary forum for anyone interested in small-scale fisheries to participate in an interactive discussion about the world’s small-scale fisheries. The purpose of the congress is to facilitate knowledge exchange, foster collaboration, and mobilize support for the viability and sustainability of small-scale fisheries. 

WSFC – How it started

The first World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress (WSFC) was launched in Bangkok in 2010, which provided a platform for the creation of the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI), as a Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research in 2012. Since then, TBTI has expanded its membership and activities, always keeping with its main goals, which are to elevate the profile of small-scale fisheries, strengthen their viability and reduce vulnerability to global change, promote sustainable small-scale fisheries policies, and improve the overall fisheries governance.


Merida, Mexico - September 21-26, 2014

The second congress concentrated on exploring “Options and Opportunities for Small-Scale Fisheries“, taking into considerations the advancement in research and enhanced policy interests on small-scale fisheries. 2WSFC attracted great interest among academic and non-academic communities resulting in more than 400 attendees from over 50 countries. Some of the issues that caught the most attention included ocean grabbing, health and well-being of small-scale fishers, cultural and social values of small-scale fisheries, governability of small-scale fisheries, transdisciplinary research etc. The wide spread of themes and topics was a proof that there is a strong and ever bigger contingency of researchers and civil society organizations that are committed to fight against the demarginalization of small-scale fisheries and are open to explore and implement innovative options and opportunities to secure their future.


Chiang Mai, Thailand - October 22-26, 2018

Over 350 participants gathered for the 3WSFC to discuss transdisciplinary strategies to sustain small-scale fisheries as a global food production system. Under the theme ‘Transdisciplinary and Transformation for the Future of Small-Scale Fisheries’, the overall aim of the congress was to find feasible and innovative solutions to make fisheries sustainable, including ways to support implementation of the SSF Guidelines and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The outcomes from these discussions lay down the  foundation for greater coordination across the sector leading up to the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in 2021–2030 and the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2022 (IYAFA 2022).


Series of five regional events - May to November, 2022

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Considering the Covid-19 global pandemic, and recognizing the need to strengthen regional networks and organizations, the 4WSFC took take place in five regions of the world. The 4WSFC coincided with the IYAFA 2022, declared by the United Nations to recognize the contributions of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture to livelihoods, food and nutritional security, emphasizing the necessity for everyone to take actions to support the sector.

The regional congresses were organized to celebrate IYAFA 2022, as well as to build research and governance capacity, and to strengthen local and regional organizations and networks, in order to support the implementation of the SSF  Guidelines.
Further, to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 ‘Life Below Water,’ the regional congresses highlighted the fundamental role that small-scale fisheries play in achieving all SDGs, since they are closely connected to ‘Life Above Water.’ Finally, given the heightened interest around Blue Growth and Blue Economy initiatives, the congresses provided a platform to discuss how the rights, access and wellbeing of small-scale fisheries might be affected by these initiatives, as well as offered an opportunity to discuss what we can do collective to achieve Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries