Article: Transforming the governance of small-scale fisheries

 Transforming the governance of small-scale fisheries


Authors: Ratana Chuenpagdee and Svein Jentoft 

This synthesis paper recognizes the prevalence and importance of small-scale fisheries globally, yet acknowledging its cultural, social, political, geographic, legal, and economic marginalization in the face of large-scale fisheries and other many uses of the marine environment. In an effort to bring about change and ensure a viable and sustainable future for small-scale fisheries, the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) endorsed by FAO member states in 2014 call for governance interventions towards transformation. However, given the current governance structure circumstances that reinforce power imbalances and limited small-scale fisher's participation in decision-making, the authors argue, "governance systems themselves must also be transformed before real change can take place".

The paper employs interactive governance theory based on 34 case studies from around the world, with the aim to capture different transformations in small-scale fisheries' governance. The authors start by conceptualizing governance transformation then move on to discuss that whether a transformation is required, and the direction, degree, and rate in which it takes place, is context and fishery-specific, and therefore a learning process should take place in identifying different avenues for these transformations. The paper highlights that small-scale fisheries’ governance transformations are underway in many countries around the world, and different types of transformation can take place in all governing modes (e.g. hierarchical governance, co-governance, and self-governance), and at different governing orders (e.g. operational, institutional, and the meta-levels), which is encouraging from the perspective of the SSF Guidelines. Ultimately, the paper provides insight into how to analyze changes in the governance system, and how to facilitate transformation towards sustainable and viable small-scale fisheries, as promoted in the SSF Guidelines. 


The paper can be found HERE.