A balanced approach towards sustainable SSF in Europe

Dr. Alicia Said, a current member and past post-doc with TBTI, recently participated in two events that focused on the future of small-scale fisheries in Europe. Highlights from these two events are captured below.  

UKFEN symposium on the future of inshore fishery in the UK
September 25, 2019

A workshop on the UK inshore fishery brought together social and economic scientists to discuss future strategies for the small-scale sector. In her role as a panellists, Alicia, supported by SEAFISH, presented some thoughts about the sustainability of small-scale fisheries and potential ways on how to frame their challenges and needs for transformation.

She spoke about the need to look at the sustainability of small-scale fisheries not as a ‘fishery’ problem, but an issue that is interconnected to various social systems. Research that is sufficiently wide and inclusive to cater for these complexities and the various voices within the sector, is necessary to inform governance and policy measures for small-scale fisheries. She continued by proposing the transdisciplinary approach as conceptualized by TBTI, which brings together various disciplines (natural and social sciences) together with policy-makers, managers, fishers to define the problems and co-design context-based solutions. In this context, she recommended more focus on the SSF Guidelines alongside the Sustainable Development Goals, as a way of approaching the research field and adopting policy measures in a transdisciplinary context. The insights from the workshop were further developed at the ‘Inshore Fisheries Conference’ (Oct 8-9).

International Conference on ‘Ocean Governance in Archipelagic Regions’
October 7-10, 2019; Faial Island, Azores

The Conference brought together representatives of various realms to discuss the sustainability of island systems, and to strengthen the role of scientific and technological research on fisheries, marine protected areas, sustainable exploitation, and maritime spatial planning. Alicia was invited by the Azores Government to deliver a keynote about the role and suitability of ‘EU polices in the context of archipelagic artisanal and small-scale fisheries’ in which she discussed the sustainability implications of artisanal socio-ecological systems in island-based communities.

She highlighted that artisanal fisheries in such regions, while providing many vital social, economic and cultural contributions are being threatened by the high vulnerability of these island due to their small economic systems, global policy and market shocks. Alicia argued that the focus on economic and ecological efficiency which surround the EU one-size-fits-all policies, and their internalization through the interconnected governance systems, tend to propel specific interests of economic growth at the expense of social regeneration of fishing communities, leading to irreversible impacts on artisanal fishing segments. An alternative governance route embedded in the SSF Guidelines and aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals could provide a more balanced approach towards sustaining small-scale fisheries into the future.