Blue Justice

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

The linkage between the blue economy and Blue Justice is apparent; however, what the SSF communities are faced with is a combination of Blue Justice issues on top of the long-standing social justice issues within this context. Hence, more clarity and a clear definition is needed on the concept of Blue Justice, which will require going beyond SDG 14 and the SSF Guidelines.

Discussion at the TBTI special session on Blue Justice at the 2019 MARE Conference

Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries

The stakes have never been higher for small-scale fisheries: they face countless challenges such as poverty, food insecurity, access issues, gender inequity, resource depletion, habitat degradation and inequitable resource allocation. More recently, small-scale fisheries are being threatened by ‘blue economy’ and ‘blue growth’ initiatives – while these initiatives may lack a unifying definition, they have been criticized for being economic strategies that prioritize economic growth over sustainability. This situation is further convoluted by climate change, in unprecedented and ever-growing ways.

However daunting, we must tackle these challenges heads on. And the way we can do this is by implementing socially just responses, built on a comprehensive understanding of the natural, social and political systems that small-scale fisheries are entrenched within. For that reason, TBTI has been bringing the notion of ‘Blue Justice’ in the forefront, as a way to call attention to fairness and equity for the most marginalized and vulnerable fishing people. ‘Blue Justice’ acknowledges the historical rights of small-scale fishing communities to marine and inland resources, and coastal space, as traditional users. As a movement, ‘Blue Justice’ seeks to investigate pressures on small-scale fisheries, from other ocean uses, including industrial fisheries, coastal/marine tourism, aquaculture, energy production and others. At its core, Blue Justice encompasses social justice and human rights principles whilst being intrinsically tied to principles of environmental and climate justice.

What is Blue Justice? How to join the TBTI movement for Blue Justice?

At the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in October 2018, the concept “Blue Justice” was presented and discussed, 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.

On November 21, 2018 TBTI launched ‘Blue Justice campaign”, calling for stories and commitments to Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries. Find out more and  join the movement!

TBTI is committed to Blue Justice towards fulfilling SDG14

On February 20, 2019 TBTI submitted its ‘Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries’ commitment, as a Voluntary Commitment towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Our pledge joins more than 1,400 other voluntary commitments to save our oceans, all registered on a UN platform.

Find out more about the topic of Blue Justice

Check out some of the recent publications on small-scale fisheries that critically examine the concepts of Blue Justice as well as Blue Growth / Blue Economy and their impact on the small-scale fishing communities.

You can also watch the video recording of a special seminar  Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, University of Western Cape organized in partnership with TBTI as a way to encourage discussion about the concept of ‘Blue Justice’ in relation to small-scale fisheries.

Blue Justice at the center of TBTI special session at 2019 MARE Conference

At 2019 MARE People and the Sea Conference, held in Amsterdam, TBTI convened two special sessions on ‘Blue Justice’: 1) ‘Transdisciplinary fisheries sciences for blue justice: The need to go between, across and beyond,’ co-organized by Milena Arias Schreiber (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Ratana Chuenpagdee (Memorial University, Canada); and 2) ‘Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Fishing Opportunities and Markets: A Lens for SDG14b’, co-organized by Alicia Said (Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, France) and Jose Pascual-Fernández (Universidad de La Laguna, Spain).