‘Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries – A Global Scan’ e-book

Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries - A Global Scan

Editors: Vesna Kerezi, Dorota Kinga Pietruszka & Ratana Chuenpagdee
Publisher: TBTI Global

Small-scale fisheries provide livelihoods and food security to millions of women and men around the word. They make important contribution to the local and national economy, as well as represent diverse value, cultural identity and heritage of many coastal communities. As commitments are being made to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), small-scale fisheries have even more prominent role to play, given their connection to land and sea and their intersection with all goals. Unfortunately, in the framing of the oceans as the new economic and development frontier, many development initiatives, promoted through Blue Growth and Blue Economy agenda, tend to ignore small-scale fisheries, excluding them from the discussion and putting them in disadvantaged situations.

It does not have to be this way. Some of these development agendas promote social and economic development objectives that align well with small-scale fisheries characteristics and values. More needs to be done to encourage good alignments as well as to adjust and re-balance sustainable development initiatives to fully benefit from the current and potential contributions of small-scale fisheries in achieving all SDGs. Pushing towards a more equitable and just space for small-scale fisheries requires, first and foremost, an understanding of the current situations, looking at the kind of injustices and inequity that may be happening and affecting women and men involved in small-scale fisheries, their families and their communities.  

With this in mind, TBTI has gathered stories and examples of policies, programs, projects, initiatives, regulatory frameworks, as well as other situations that create different types of injustice and inequity in small-scale fisheries. The first release of the ‘Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries – A Global Scan’ e-book that contains 18 stories from 14 countries has been publish in the summer of 2020. These stories are also captured in the new ISSF ‘Blue Justice Alert’ dataset that allows anyone (including you!) to alert the world about injustice and other threats for small-scale fisheries in communities, regions, countries, etc. The second volume, released on February 2021 to mark the  World Day of Social Justice, contains 11 new case studies from 9 countries.

Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries: What, why and how

 Introductory chapter to the e-book by Ratana Chuenpagdee  

 Blue Justice is a critical examination of how small-scale fisheries and their communities may be affected by Blue Economy and Blue Growth initiatives that promote sustainable ocean development but neglect small-scale fisheries and their contribution to ocean sustainability. We extend the concept to inland fisheries, which are similarly affected by landbased development that put them at risk and disadvantage them.

Volume 3

By: Parida, P.K., Basanta, B.K., & Swain, P.R.  
Location: Dooma wetland, West Benga, India 

… water hyacinth’s dense growth causes barriers to fishing, reduces light penetration, and decreases the concentration of phytoplankton…

By: Prasada, D.V.P. 
Location: Northern Peninsula Sea, Gulf of Mannar sea belt, North Eastern sea belt Sri Lanka
Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Distributive, COVID-19 related, Other

Divers and boat-owners obtain a relatively small return to their inputs and effort while a large portion of the market premium for exportable catch goes to either collectors or exporter companies

By: Roy et al.
Location: West Bengal, India
Social, Regulatory, Environmental

… collection of small indigenous fish is a means of nutritional and livelihood security for the women of the wetland-dependent community. Increase in population of these invasive species will reduce number of small fish and subsequently affect the livelihood and nutritional security of the fishers…

By: Aparna Roy & B.K Das
Location: Khalsi beel, West Bengal, India
Social, Regulatory, Environmental


…in West Bengal, India, small-scale fishers that live around the wetlands are dependent on beel fisheries as their primary occupation. The degradation of the wetland ecosystem directly affects the life and livelihoods of the wetland fishers…

By: Marta Piñeiro
Location: Peninsula Valdés, Chubut Province, Argentina 
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Procedural

…The local community has learned to appreciate the role of artisanal fishers as providers of good-quality seafood… [But] here are actors within the tourism sector who do not see artisanal fishers as allies but rather seek to expel them from the Protected Area…

Volume 2

By: Pekka Salmi, Juhani Mellanoura & Kristina Svels
Location: Merikarvia, Finland
Distributive, Social, Economic, Regulatory, Procedural & Environmental

 ... The most problematic justice issue in Merikarvia is connected to the growing animal populations that have decreased the volume of marketable fish and increased operational costs…

By: Navya V. Nair
Location: Chilika Lagoon, India
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental & COVID-19 related

 ...  breakdown of fishery cooperatives and dynamic structures, accompanied by rising conflicts of poverty and economic loss leading to marginalization of small-scale fishing communities…


By: Piyashi DebRoy, B. K. Das, Pranaya Kumar Parida, Aparna Roy & Sangeeta Chakraborty
Location: Beledanga wetland, West Bengal, India

 …Traditional fishers are dependent on them for their life and livelihoods but due to the huge lease amounts, most of the fishers’ cooperative societies in West Bengal are losing interest in wetland


By: Eurida Liyana
Location: The Sundarbans, Bangladesh
Distributive, Social, Economic, Regulatory & Procedural

 …Local leaders dominate the community, control the market value-chain, and take advantage of most of the facilities that were meant to benefit the common fisherfolk…


By: Rahatul Zannat Tanha, Abdullah Al Zabir & Asif Mahmud
Location: Mongla Upazilla, Bagherhat district, Bangladesh
Social, Economic, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Environmental & COVID-19 related

 ... Most of the people who lost their valuable work assets don’t have enough savings to cover the loss and restart shrimp stocking in ‘Ghers’…


By: Joy Emily Hazell, Kai Lorenzen & Jennifer Brewer
Location: Dominica
Distributive & Regulatory

 ... Fishers establishing FADs charge fees to others who fish at the FADs, opening a market for private fishery access. New investments in larger, more efficient vessels and engines led to placement
of FADs farther offshore to discourage access by smaller vessels…

By: Muhammad Moazzam, Aisha Hamera and Rab Nawaz
Location: Bundal and Buddo Islands, Pakistan
Social, Economic, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural & Environmental

 …Planned development of resort and residential complex at Bundal and Buddo Islands will have serious impacts on the social and economic wellbeing of the small-scale fishers…


By: Aliou Sall
Location: Senegal
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Procedural & Environmental 

 ... in Senegal, no household can go without fish for more than two days. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of the population is unaware of the extent to which the basic rights of ‘fishers’ and ‘women in fisheries’ are violated on a daily basis…

By: Clara Obregón, Michael Hughes, James R. Tweedley & Neil R. Loneragan
Location: Mandurah, South-Western Australia
Social & Regulatory

 …Commercial fishers have reported damage to personal property as well as physical harm from recreational fishers. Furthermore, some recreational fishers support the elimination of the commercial sector in the region…


By: Dennis F. Calvan
Location: Navotas City, Manila Bay, Philippines
Distributive, Social & Economic  

 ... Without the persistent calls of fisherfolk groups like that of Ka Rody, stiff competition between commercial fishers and small-scale fishers would have been intensified with the latter at the losing end…

Volume 1

By: Alice Joan G. Ferrer 
Location: Nueva Valencia, Philippines
Distributive, Social, Economic & Regulatory

 ... local people claimed that they are even prohibited to enter the area that was for years their source of food and income. When they did enter the area, they were under suspicion to fish…

By: Alicia Saldaña, Silvia Salas & Ratana Chuenpagdee
Location: Sisal, Mexico
Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural

 …subsidy programs are only allocated to (…) fishers who belong to a fishing cooperative, marginalizing those fishers that lack fishing permits or work independently…

By: Ana Carolina Esteves Dias
Location: Paraty, Brazil
Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental

 ...even though Caiçara have traditional rights to use local resources to sustain livelihoods under the National Traditional peoples’ legislation (…), their rights are being withdrawn… 

By: Ana Isabel Márquez Pérez
Location: Old Providence & Santa Catalina Island, Colombia
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Environmental 

 …the Raizal people have the right to prior consultation regarding any decision made about the Archipelago (…) to defend territorial and cultural rights…

By: Beven F. Chinamasa
Location: Binga / Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Social, Economic, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Environmental

 ...It is difficult for the villagers to pay the US$5 daily levy to fish, when most of them are living on less than a dollar a day…. 

By: Cécile Schneider
Location: Ambanja and Nosy Be district, Madagascar
Social, Regulatory 

 …Illegal mangrove charcoal producers continue to produce charcoal with relative
impunity, while coastal fishers… are denied from doing so on the grounds that their actions are
deemed illegal…

By: Erwin Prayogi
Location: Sabintulung Village, Indonesia
Social, Economic, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental

…The villagers often feel desperate in their fight for justice as there had been no significant changes for a long time. They no longer trust the government or their neighbours…

By: Fernanda Fitzmaurice & Gabriel López
Location: Puerto Libertad, Mexico
Social, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Procedural

…This has caused social problems in the community, such as alcoholism and violence, and neither the government nor private investors informed the community…

By: Iftekhar Ahmed Fagun
Location: Hussen Para Village, Bangladesh
Distributive, Social, Economic, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Environmental

…The community faces the impacts of frequent natural disasters linked with climate change (…) forcing fishers to cut their trips short (…) [as] boats and nets are destroyed, and workers get injured…

By: Lina M. Saavedra-Díaz et al.
Location: Don Jaca, Bello Horizonte, Ciénaga, and Tasajera (Colombia)
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental

…Fishing is no longer profitable as current catches cannot even cover fuel expenses…

By: Lina M. Saavedra-Díaz et al.
Location: Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural, Environmental

…The fishing ban dispossessed commercial, artisanal fishers from their rights to fish in their traditional fishing grounds, escalating the conflicts between Park officials and fishers…

By: César Viteri et al.
Location: Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador
Distributive, Social, Economic, Procedural

…how a top-down decision, taken under a contested process, disrupted an ongoing participatory dialogue … resulted in an unfair distribution of costs and economic opportunities for stakeholders…

By: Marta C. Calosso
Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Regulatory, Procedural,

Since the TCI has established itself as a top luxury tourist destination, SSF have become marginalized, and the interests of fisherfolk are neglected. Livelihood security in SSF is in decline, while the cost of living is now among the world’s highest.

By: Md. Ruyel Miah & Mohammad Mahmudul Islam
Location: Saint Martin’s Island, Bangladesh
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural

…Foreign fishers enter Bangladesh waters with modern equipped fishing gear and harvest the fish. This kind of activity creates conflicts between the two nations, and the local communities suffer the most….

By: Tek Bahadur Gurung
Location: Pokhara, Nepal
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural,

…In Nepal, the majority of lake resources are owned by the government and available for public use, including fishing. However, the government shows little interest in restoring degraded resources…

By: Yinji Li
Location: Inatori, Shizuoka, Japan
Social, Regulatory, Procedural, Covid-19 related

…a strong sense of unfairness and injustice has been growing among fishers, notably since the Kinme fish stock has declined and is still not in a stable condition…

By: Yin Nyein et al.
Location: Gulf of Mottama, Myanmar
Infrastructure/wellbeing, Other: enslavement, safety at work, violence, access to nutrition,
blocked communication with family members

…many of the fishers have experienced slave-like conditions, including physical confinement on the rafts for extended periods.  with no prospect of setting foot ashore for periods of up to 9 months…

By: Vivienne Solis
Location: Barra del Colorado, Costa Rica
Distributive, Social, Economic, Market, Infrastructure/wellbeing, Regulatory, Procedural

…The issue of traditional fishing rights and tenure rights is fundamental, as well as the issue of traditional knowledge related to the use of marine resources in the area….