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.

Social justice is a key concern of fisheries governance since many stakeholders rely on the same resources. Large-scale, industrialized fisheries, for instance, exploit fisheries resources for commercial purposes and trade, while for small-scale fisheries, these resources are their main sources of livelihoods, community wellbeing and food security. Fisheries management is mostly targeted at the former, with favorable policies and subsidies that provide support for their expansion and development. Small-scale fisheries, on the other hand, are bigger in number and in their contribution to the society, but receive much less support. The imbalance in fisheries policies and governance creates unfair competition between the sectors, further marginalizing small-scale fisheries and those who depend on them for their wellbeing. The focus on a “Blue Economy” in many new initiatives raises questions about whether it will add to this imbalance or help to correct it.

Blue Justice: Small-Scale Fisheries are Too Important to Fail

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.

Seminar on Blue Justice held in Cape Town, South Africa

On January 25 2019, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, University of Western Cape, in partnership with TBTI, organized a special seminar as a way to encourage discussion about the concept of ‘Blue Justice’ in relation to small-scale fisheries. The seminar also emphasized the need to connect the key international instruments such as the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries, the Governance of Tenure, and the Right to Food Guidelines, to meaningfully engage with local small-scale fishing communities, in order to secure access, food and livelihoods.

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

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).