The conference aim is 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. These discussions will lay 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

Ratana Chuenpagdee, TBTI Project Director and 3WSFC Co-chair

Transdisciplinarity and Transformation for the Future of Small-Scale Fisheries

Over 350 researchers, practitioners, small-scale fishers, civil society organizations, environmental organizations, and government representatives gathered on 22–26 October 2018 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to discuss transdisciplinary strategies to sustain small-scale fisheries as a global food production system, as part of the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress.

Under the theme ‘Transdisciplinary and Transformation for the Future of Small-Scale Fisheries’, the congress aimed to facilitate information exchange, knowledge sharing, and discussion among participants who come from more than 50 countries for the viability and sustainability of small-scale fisheries worldwide.

Small-scale fisheries provide food for billions of people and livelihoods for millions. Yet these services are being affected by factors such as ineffective governance, inequitable fishing rights, climate change and competition for space and resources with large-scale industrial fisheries and other sectors. In many instances, social, policy and governance transformations have taken place in response, but these are not always favorable to small-scale fisheries. Careful considerations are therefore needed to promote positive outcomes and avoid harmful ones.

The ‘Transdisciplinarity and Transformation for the Future of Small-Scale Fisheries’ report sums up the previous briefs and articles about the congress, offering an in-depth overview of the congress. The report opens with the highlights from the four thematic days: Science, Community, Policy and Action. Following debriefs from the thematic days are the summaries from the regional roundtables. The section about the SSF Guidelines outlines the roles of governments, CSOs, and research community in the implementation process. The last section of the report is dedicated to actions plans that indicate the paths towards the transformation of small-scale fisheries, from the perspective of innovation and transdisciplinarity.

New lines of inquiries, new ways to frame research methods, new approaches and tools, and new thinking in governance are all part of the exciting efforts to enhance understanding about small-scale fisheries and to achieve small-scale fisheries sustainability. Check out the official program of the 3WSFC where over 350 participants contributed to the conversation about small-scale fisheries through oral and poster presentations, interactive sessions, panel discussion, science café and talk circles.

Where science, community and policy got together for transdisciplinarity

In order to facilitate interaction, information sharing, cross-fertilization of ideas and networking opportunities for congress participants, the congress followed a dynamic format with activities organized around themes of science, community and policy. Read the main message from each of the three themes in the 3WSFC briefs. 

Towards the implementation of the SSF Guidelines

This report presents the summary of the discussion about the SSF Guidelines at the congress, outlining in particular the roles of governments, CSOs, and research community in the implementation process, and illustrating some of the main challenges and opportunities in the implementation.

Enhancing the understanding of small-scale fisheries globally, one region at a time

On Action Day, a regional roundtable was opened with a quick overview of the TBTI Regional Synthesis Reports, which present a global picture of the small-scale fisheries characteristics, challenges, threats and opportunities. The reports from Africa, Asia and Oceania, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America were developed by TBTI with inputs from academics and experts from around the globeWith these reports, TBTI aims to put small-scale fisheries on the map and in the right perspective, such that small-scale fisheries sustainability can be improved through policies that maximize their contribution to the regional and national social and economic development.

Students and early-career scientists: Building the future of small-scale fisheries research and practice 

The 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress was sure a wonderful opportunity for students and early career scientists to share their work and connect with their peers and renowned researchers and practitioners. Learn more about the congress through their eyes!

Congress recording

For our 3WSFC, we made sure everyone could participate: researchers from around the globe, early career scientists, students, small-scale fishers, NGO, government and industry representatives. But not only that, those who could not attend in person were welcomed online as the congress was live-streamed on our YouTube channel! If you still missed it, we have it all recorded for you on our video gallery.

The cutting edge of small-scale fisheries research

Want to stay up to date with current research and practice on small-scale fisheries that have been presented at 3WSFC? Read our congress proceedings to learn about what small-scale fisheries experts around the globe have been working on!

TBTI for Blue Justice, Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries

The concept “Blue Justice” was presented and discussed at 3WSFC, 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 the spotlight

Interested in seeing what others had to say about the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress? Read the news articles about the congress and help us spread the word! 

Recognizing the support of those who help build a better future for small-scale fisheries

We owe the success of the congress to many sponsors, individuals, committees and organizations who helped us turn 3WSFC into reality. We are especially thankful to the congress participants who have made the time and effort to join us in Thailand to chart together the future of small-scale fisheries! See our acknowledgements to all of contributed to making 3WSFC a success, including the winners of the ‘Best student paper awards’!