Call for contributions for a book on legal & policy frameworks for SSF

Since the endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) by the Committee on Fisheries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in 2014, governments and a wide-range of stakeholders, including the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries, have been working on promoting their implementation. These works are in line with the UN General Assembly’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 14, whose indicator SDG 14.b.1 is measured through countries’ progress in applying legal, regulatory, policy, and institutional framework that recognize and protect access rights for small-scale fisheries.

Measuring SDG 14.b.1 is complex, as national legal systems and political structures vary by country; laws and policies are often modified and/or updated; and countries offer multiple laws and policies directly or indirectly relevant for small-scale fisheries, touching upon a range of issues referred in the SSF Guidelines (e.g. human rights, environment, climate change, gender). National standards for small-scale fisheries may also differ within levels of governance (federal, state, municipal, community) and different types of rules may apply (formal, informal, customary). In this respect, TBTI researchers have developed a rapid appraisal framework to unpack legal and policy framework and applied it to 24 countries[1]. FAO has also been contributing to enhancing legal and policy frameworks for small-scale fisheries through the development of a Legislative Guide, and is currently developing an SSF-LEX database entirely dedicated to this sector. Yet, more work is needed: we want to clarify the extent to which existing laws, policies, and judicial cases of countries are contributing to, or inhibiting, the implementation of the SSF Guidelines. This is where you come in.

We are issuing a “Call for Contribution” to a new peer-reviewed book (possibly for Springer MARE Series, like other TBTI books we have published) on this topic. The chapter should address the following questions. Firstly, what are the relevant laws and policies that matter for securing rights of small-scale fishers and their communities? How are small-scale fisheries defined by national laws and policies? How are small-scale fisheries treated (i.e. specifically or generally) in these instruments? Are there specific provisions and references to small-scale fisheries or any of its associated terminologies (e.g. artisanal, subsistence, traditional, indigenous)? Secondly, how the relevant instruments address the 8 small-scale fisheries key issues outlined in that rapid appraisal study (see Table 1)? What are the strengths and gaps in these instruments? Do they address issues that are not covered by the SSF Guidelines? Do they contribute to clarifying other legal issues that are relevant for sustainable small-scale fisheries? Finally, since the book also aims to explore the accessibility of these legal and policy instruments for those to which they matter the most (the small-scale fishers), we are also interested in knowing: What challenges do they face in knowing and understanding the relevant laws and policies in place? Which tools, measures and processes are available in the countries to ensure small-scale fishers can claim for their rights? To what extent judicial courts have recognized and/or granted rights to small-scale fishers?

In writing the chapter and answering the questions, transdisciplinary and collaborative work between researchers, governments, and civil society organizations is likely required. We encourage you to consider forming a team of authors from across disciplines, especially legal scholars, and engage with key small-scale fisheries stakeholders in your case study as appropriate.

If you are interested in writing about this topic, please send us the name, affiliation and email of all authors, title and an abstract of the chapter (about 250 words), including the name of the country, the level of governance where the analysis will be performed (e.g. federal, state, municipal, community), and about 100 words description of the legal and policy topics that you plan to focus on, as an email attachment to, by September 15. Please note the tentative timeline below.

September 15, 2021        Deadline for abstract submission

February 15, 2022           Submission of full chapter draft to book editors

October 15, 2022            Complete manuscript submission to Springer

April 15, 2023                  Book published

June 09, 2023                  Book launch (celebrating the 9th anniversary of the SSF Guidelines)

We look forward receiving your abstract! The book will be an important contribution to the UN Year for Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2022. If you would like to discuss your idea with us before you send the abstract, please contact us by email: and

Editorial team

Julia Nakamura, Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG), University of Strathclyde’s Law School, UK

Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University – Canada / TBTI Global

Svein Jentoft, Norwegian College of Fishery Science, UiT The Artic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

[1]: J. Nakamura, R. Chuenpagdee and M. El Halimi, ‘Unpacking legal and policy frameworks: A step ahead for implementing the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines’ (2021) 129 Marine Policy 104568, available at