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

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.

At the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in October this year, 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.

In this spirit, we invite you to make commitment to “Blue Justice” and share your thought and story on the topic. Here are a few things that you can do.

(1) Take video of yourself, saying how you are committed to “Blue Justice” (see trailer). We’ll collate all the submission and make it into a video that will be used for the campaign. You can just send your signature in lieu of the video. The videos can be sent via We Transfer link (insert the toobigtoignore@mun.ca as the recipient email).

(2) Send us stories and experiences that you and the small-scale fisheries communities you work with have on social justice concerns and issues. You can send your story to toobigtoignore@mun.ca. If you have any photos accompanying your story, please send them via We Transfer link (insert the toobigtoignore@mun.ca as the recipient email).

(3) Send us some thoughts about what you are committed to do, and what you think we should collectively do to ensure “Blue Justice” for the world’s small-scale fisheries by using the Comment section below.

Your stories on Blue Justice

 

Blue justice in the Swedish Baltic Sea
Contributor: Milena Arias Schreiber

In Baltic Sea of Sweden, coastal traditional fishermen who had been fishing this sea for centuries are vanishing. Some fishermen had agreed to stop fishing but hundreds of others have been practically forced to sell their boats and fishing quotas to larger industrial fishing companies. This is a result of fisheries policies that do not consider the multiple contributions of coastal fisheries to coastal communities and their wellbeing but concentrate solely in maximizing economic profits and growth. As a social scientist, Blue justice in the Baltic Sea means for me, giving back to coastal fishermen their right to decide upon their future and the allocation of fishing resources. Isn’t it more just to have hundreds of small boats fishing in the Baltic Sea - as it used to be one century ago - rather than a handful of huge trawlers catching and profiting as much as all the small boats together?

Blue justice for women in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Contributor: Eva Coronado

Over the last 70 years, from 1948 to 2018 in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, small-scale fisheries have been traditionally recognized as an exclusive male activity. However, during the last two decades, the women participation in the complete process of the value chain (pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest) has been documented. Recently, participation of women has increased and is particularly high in the octopus and sea-cucumber fisheries. In addition, women contribute to livelihoods, community wellbeing, and family food security. Most women fishing groups "do not officially or legally exist and they are invisible to authorities" because they do not have a legal constitution and never have been documented on official statistics. Nowadays, women fishing groups are organized and demand government recognition in order to achieve legal participation and equal access to subsidies that support their expansion, development and “blue justice”.

Grito de Pesca Artesanal
Sergio Mattos

In today’s Brazil, struggling with so many political issues pushing hard against human rights and well-being, sharing so many messages and actions supporting the World Fisheries day means a “rest in madness”, and a break to reflect mainstreaming social justice. Joining forces from Brazil, on every November 22nd, from more than 10 years now, small-scale fisheries Brazilian organizations and networks raise their voices for artisanal fisheries as part of what is called “Grito da Pesca Artesanal” (Artisanal Fishery’s Scream), against all kind of rights losses and democracy repression, and “against the lashes of yesterday, today and forever! – contra as chibatas de ontem, de hoje e de sempre!” A call to induce fishing policies to every fishers and fishing communities, and claim for equal opportunities in a blue justice economy, and society.

Gender in Fisheries Team (GIFT) was promoted at the Institute of Gender and Development Studies’ (IGDS) Biennial Conference
Maria Pena

On World Fisheries Day, November 21, the UWI-CERMES led Gender in Fisheries Team (GIFT) was promoted at the Institute of Gender and Development Studies’ (IGDS) Biennial Conference, Global feminisms and the anti-colonial project. The round-table discussion on Gender in Fisheries included  the following invited panelists: Joyce Leslie, Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer, Barbados Fisheries Division; Sylvia White, Vice President, Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organizations (BARNUFO); and Melissa Taitt, Distributor. The discussion began with personal introductions and an overview of GIFT and was followed with two questions to the panel – “What are you interested in, or made you interested in, gender in fisheries?” and “What would you like to see in the future for women (and men) in the Barbados fishing industry?” All of the panelists were very articulate and engaged the audience in discussion. There were a number of questions and comments from the audience all of whom are interested in what GIFT is doing. The session organizer, Maria Pena, ended the one hour-long session with a comment and question to the audience for thought and consideration – “In natural resource management, gender is a topic that typically receives nominal treatment along with poverty and a few other social science intrusions. As gender scholars, what is the contribution (if any) you would want to make to this topic?”

Your videos on Blue Justice

Comment section

 

Share with us some thoughts about what you are committed to do, and what you think we should collectively do to ensure “Blue Justice” for the world’s small-scale fisheries.

2 Responses to “Blue Justice: Small-Scale Fisheries are Too Important to Fail!”

  1. Miles Trotz

    I got what you intend,saved to my bookmarks, very decent website .

    November 24, 2018 4:32 am #
  2. Jom Acebes

    In the Philippines, fishing communities are one of the most marginalized and poor. Often ignored when it comes to designing fisheries management or conservation policies. In the Bohol Sea, a small fishing community in Jagna, Bohol who have been fishing for mobula rays for over a century were not consulted when environmental groups and government agencies pushed for the listing of their target species in CITES Appendix II. Although CITES concerns international trade of species, listing of species has a different implication in the Philippines. All CITES listed species are protected hence, prohibiting the catching, collection and trade nationally. Essentially imposing a total ban. The past year, 2017 has been a very difficult year for the fishing community of Jagna because their main source of income and livelihood was taken away from them with no prior consultation, preparation or compensation. Even the Local Government Unit was taken by surprise. To this day, the most members of the fishing community still struggle. With no alternative source of income in place, environmental groups continue to push further by promoting a Shark Conservation Bill and a provincial ordinance calling for a total ban on the fisheries of all sharks and rays. Again, with no consideration of how this will impact fishing communities.
    As a small NGO working in this community, we continue to struggle how to assist the community given our lack of financial and human resources. However, we commit to continue helping by providing them with a voice, hopefully loud enough to be heard in the province, the country and someday, in the world.

    November 21, 2018 1:34 pm #

Say yes to Blue Justice. Share your story. Commit today.