Blue Justice Alert

Blue Justice Alert:
An Interactive Platform for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

About the project

For the past several years, TBTI has been implementing ‘Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries’ initiative that calls for a holistic vision for the ocean and a transdisciplinary process that considers the injustices faced by small-scale fisheries (SSF) as a way to ensure a just transition to the future. As a concept, ‘Blue Justice’ is a counter narrative to the pro-growth agenda that dominates the global ocean governance discourse today.

With SSF are at a critical crossroads, TBTI newest project ‘Blue Justice Alert: An Interactive Platform for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries’ is build on the notion that SSF communities must be able to communicate the urgency of their concerns for timely, appropriate intervention and responses. Innovation in information sharing is required, along with active participation of actors from different backgrounds and disciplines in co-creating solutions to address governance challenges.

Blue Justice Alert aims to highlight the potential threats and opportunities that the Blue Growth/Economy brings to SSF globally. The project is envisioned as an interactive, web-based, mobile platform connecting experts, practitioners and SSF people. The platform will be developed based on the co-production of knowledge between researchers and SSF people, allowing monitoring and evaluation of SSF status. SSF communities can also use it to register crises or threats to rights and livelihoods and seek help from experts and practitioners connected to the platform. The platform will be build upon TBTI information System on Small-scale Fisheries (ISSF), which is a first interactive global repository of SSF knowledge. Platform development and pilot testing will occur in Bangladesh, South Africa, and Mexico.

The overall goal of the project is to contribute to reducing SSF vulnerability and strengthen their capacity to achieve viability, food security and sustainability – a necessity given the current status of global fisheries. The project is led by a team of TBTI members and is funded by the Canadian New Frontiers in Research Fund.

Share your 'Blue Justice Alert' story

We are inviting small-scale fishers and the wider small-scale fisheries community to send short stories depicting current challenges affecting small-scale fisheries, with a particular focus on social injustice and inequity issues.

These stories will be published on our website as part of the the series ‘Blue Justice Alert Stories’. In addition, the stories will be incorporated in our Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries – A Global Scan’ e-book’ and recorded in ISSF ‘Blue Justice Alert’ dataset.

How to contribute?

1) Send us a short story that depicts the main issue(s) in small-scale fishery you are concerned about. The length of the text should be between 500-1,000 words. Please also include a picture or two of this small-scale fishery, as well as your short bio and photo. The material should be sent to

2) In addition, please complete the ‘Blue justice for small-scale fisheries’ template (available below in PDF and Word format) as much as you can and return the complete form to us by email at  Once completed, we will use the information from the template to create the chapter in the ‘Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries – A Global Scan’ e-book’ and a record in ISSF ‘Blue Justice Alert’ dataset. 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact.

Read the 'Blue Justice Alert' stories

Península Valdés, Argentina: A World Heritage Site for whom?

Written by Marta Piñeiro

On Peninsula Valdes, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, various economic, social and cultural activities coexist. The area is enriched by a diversity of attributes that make it attractive and valued as a common good for all mankind. …The Península Valdés Natural Protected Area includes among its objectives the “Promotion of sustainable activities compatible with conservation, such as tourism, artisanal fisheries and livestock raising”. Thus, fishers are fully entitled to carry out their work within the protected area. However, this is only a mirage…

The story reveals how the expansion of tourism in The Península Valdés Natural Protected Area, fostered by the World Heritage Site designation, has marginalized artisanal fishers through a biased justice system that favours private sectors and individuals. The most damaging consequence of this situation will be the rupture of the social agreements made between different sectors through decades of hard work aimed to protect the common good.

The indigenous communities in the Orinoquía region, Colombia

Written by Rocío Lancheros-Neva

Situated in the eastern plains of Colombia, the Orinoquía region has been inhabited by a number of Indigenous communities, such as the Piaroa, Curripaco, Amorua, Sikuani, and Puinave, among others. Historically, clans or smaller groups from these communities moved through the land and water in search of resources that would sustain them. Such free exploration was possible as no one owned the territory – they had a complete freedom of movement. Through the establishment of the territory ownership model, many of these nomadic groups had to settle in specific areas and form communities, which brought significant changes to their relationship with the inland ecosystems.

…Over the years, fishing has become one of the main subsistence and economic drivers for these local communities… [Nowadays], it is not uncommon to hear that the availability of fish has decreased or that now they must spend extra hours navigating greater distances in their boats to obtain the minimum amount of resource for their consumption and commercialization. To address this ongoing issue, their request is clear: it is vital that the government entities in the area guarantee a greater control and surveillance of the use of natural resources. 

The tragedy of the Sundarbans

Written by Aishwarya Pattanaik

I was roughly four years old when I first experienced a cyclone… I used to ask my grandfather “How can I make this stop?” as the younger me observed how difficult it was to live without electricity, proper food and drinking water supply.

Sundarbans happens to be a cyclone magnet as it experiences 3-5 cyclones of different intensities on average per year. 26 cyclones have passed through the region in the past two decades, leading to 35% degradation of vegetation cover. Apart from that, they have impacted the small-scale fishers by destroying their boats, fishing gear, and thatched houses, leaving them homeless, without proper hygiene and sanitation, electricity, water supply and telecommunication. Cyclones have also resulted in several casualties involving fishers. This has created a chain of vulnerabilities in the lives of small-scale fishers that have disrupted not only their stability but also the sustainability of the entire ecosystem.

X-Press Pearl disaster closer to the pearl of Indian Ocean

Written by Fazeeha Azmi

On the 20th of May 2021, the Sri Lankan West coast witnessed the worst ecological disaster to have occurred in Sri Lankan waters in its history. The significant damage caused by the fire on X-Press Pearl vessel, which had 1,486 containers carrying tonnes of polythene, plastics and chemicals has gravely endangered the marine ecosystem in the Sri Lankan waters. Although the Sri Lankan government attempted to control the fire, it did not have the technical capacity to handle the disaster on time.

According to the Negombo district fisheries office, nearly 4,300 fishing families, including 10,000 registered fishers, are living in the affected areas. However, in the whole West coast, more than 10,000 small-scale fishing families who are directly involved in fishing have lost their livelihoods because of the incident.

Photo credit: Tamil Alvani News (

In focus

The ‘Blue Justice Alert’ project was featured in Canada Research Coordinating Committee – Mobilizing Canadian Research Progress Report (2019–20). The Canada Research Coordinating Committee advances federal research priorities and the coordination of policies and programs across Canada’s research funding agencies.

The ‘Blue Justice Alert’ project was highlighted as an example of a interdisciplinary, international, high-risk, rapid-response research funded through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) Exploration Stream, which generates opportunities for Canadians to conduct innovative high-risk, high-reward interdisciplinary research. See page 30 in the report for details.

Project team


Alida Bundy

 Dr. Alida Bundy is a senior research scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Nova Scotia, Canada. In support of the sustainable use of our oceans, her research focuses on providing science advice for ecosystem-based fisheries and oceans management. Bundy uses interdisciplinary approaches, such as empirical ecosystem indicators, ecosystem modelling, and local ecological knowledge, to further the understanding of how marine socio-ecological systems respond to change. Bundy was vice-chair of IMBeR (Integrated Marine Biosphere Research) and Chair of the IMBeR Human Dimension Working Group.

Janna Rosales

Janna Rosales

Dr. Janna Rosales teaches ethics, professionalism and communication in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She currently conducts research on contemplative education and on the relationship between reflective practices and professional identity in engineering. Her broader research interests explore the links between leadership development, civic engagement, mindfulness and dialogue in engineering education in order to address the question “How do we build a better engineer for the 21st Century?”


Moenieba Isaacs

Dr. Moenieba Isaacs is a Professor at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, at the University of Western Cape, South Africa. Her research is on understanding the social and political processes of fisheries reform in South Africa and southern Africa, mainly through the lens of SSF policy processes and implementation. She has worked extensively with communities to find policy solutions to their problems, highlighting the need to deal with social differentiation, poverty inequalities and gender dynamics in fishing communities. Isaacs is a “Blue Justice” activist for SSF and works on finding creative and appropriate ways to engage in social processes, decision-making and policymaking in the context of diverse civil society interests.


Ratana Chuenpagdee – Principal Investigator

Ratana Chuenpagdee is a university researcher professor at Memorial University in St. John’s. She leads the global partnership for small-scale fisheries, Too Big To Ignore (TBTI), which aims at elevating the profile of small-scale fisheries and rectifying their marginalization in national and international policies. Some of the current activities are ‘Blue Justice’ for small-scale fisheries, transdisciplinary capacity training to support the implementation of the SSF Guidelines, and innovative fisheries governance. Ratana also co-leads a research module on informing governance responses in a changing ocean for the Ocean Frontier Institute, another major collaborative research between universities, governments, private sectors and communities.


Mohammad Mahmudul Islam

Mahmudul Islam is an assistant professor at Sylhet Agricultural University in Bangladesh. He received his PhD from the University of Bremen in Germany. His PhD research contextualized poverty and vulnerability in the livelihoods of coastal fishing communities in Bangladesh. His recent research interests include livelihoods and well-being analysis of small-scale fishers, climate change impacts and disaster risk in coastal Bangladesh. Recently he led a research project on implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines) in Bangladesh small-scale fisheries.


Silvia Salas

Silvia Salas is a professor at the Marine Resources Department at Cinvestav Unidad Merida, Mexico. Her background is in Marine Science (Cinvestav, MSc) and Resource Management and Environmental Studies (University of British Columbia, Canada, PhD). She has competence in fisheries bio-economics and management, fleet dynamics and fishing strategies, vulnerability, and risk perception with an emphasis on small-scale fisheries. She has participated as a consultant in several FAO workshops and has collaborated as a member of the advisory committee of the WECAF region (FAO). Currently she is the representative of Latin America in the IIFET Board Committee and represents Mexico in NAAFE Board Committee. She collaborates in the TBTI partnership.

Svein Are bilde-s

Svein Jentoft

Svein Jentoft is Professor Emeritus at the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. His long career as a social scientist specializing on fisheries management and fisheries communities has yielded numerous articles and books. He has led and been involved in many international projects, working in the Global South as well as in the North. He also has a long time interest in the conditions of indigenous peoples in Nicaragua and his native Norway. In 2018, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and a ʻFriend of Small-Scale Fisheriesʼ award at the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand.