Call for contributions for the new TBTI book

'Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries'

Blue Justice

In a landmark decision, FAO member states endorsed 'The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries' (SSF Guidelines) in 2014 (FAO 2015). Our 2017 TBTI book on the implementation of these Guidelines (Jentoft et al. 2017) demonstrated that many state governments seem reluctant to fulfill their commitment. At the same time, the Blue Growth/Blue Economy concepts are gaining traction. For these new development agendas to work, however, they need to consider the nature, issues and concerns of small-scale fisheries. The SSF Guidelines provide an outline of what needs to be done. We believe that if states do nothing to implement the SSF Guidelines, small-scale fisheries will suffer, and increasingly so with the ocean development agenda that could further marginalize and disadvantage them.

At the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Conference in Chiang Mai in October 2018, the concept of 'Blue Justice' was introduced by one of TBTI leaders, Prof. Moenieba Isaacs, University of Western Cape, South Africa. It has since then played a central role in TBTI’s work. The concept has been discussed but is yet to be properly defined. For that, we do need empirical case studies as illustrations of the types of injustice that are happening to small-scale fisheries and to provide insights into the governance principles, institutions and processes that affect the lives and livelihoods of small-scale fishing people in ways that generate justice/injustice. Even in the absence of a precise idea about what constitutes justice in the era of Blue Growth/Blue Economy, we would still be able to explore how small-scale fishing people experience injustice, how they distinguish right from wrong in fisheries governance and management, and what they believe would make the system more just.

More specifically, we want to investigate how justice principles are penetrating institutions, processes, and practices in small-scale fisheries. Firstly, what are these principles and what values and norms are underpinning them? To what extent do they reflect human rights and perceptions of dignity? How do they inform the discourse on fisheries management and governance? Secondly, how just are institutions in their particular designs; are small-scale fisheries represented in decision-making processes in a way that enables them to secure their concerns and interests? Thirdly, the book aims to explore how justice plays out in day-to-day interactions and in the lives of small-scale fisheries people. To what extent are small-scale fishing people victims of injustice, and how do they respond individually and collectively in order to correct the problem as they experience it?  

Like our 2017 book about the implementation of the SSF Guidelines, of which this book is a follow-up, we aim at global coverage, with case studies from around the world. To guide the case study analysis, we have developed a full-scale theoretical paper to ensure a coherent analytical approach, which will be circulated to confirmed contributors in the near future.  

We believe this book will be an important contribution to the UN Year for Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2022. We are also planning a special session at the 2021 Mare conference in Amsterdam (June 21-25) when we hope to launch the book! As most of the other TBTI books, it will be included in the Mare Series at Springer.

At this time, we are issuing a Call for Contribution to anyone interested in writing about this topic to send us the abstract of the case study. Please send the name, affiliation and email of all authors, title and abstract of your case study, including the name of the fisheries, location, and about 100 words description of the social justice topics that you plan to focus on, as an email attachment to Please note the tentative timeline below.

March 31, 2020                Abstract submission

September 1, 2020          Submission of full chapter draft to book editors

January 15, 2021             Complete manuscript submission to Springer

June 24, 2021                   Book launch at the MARE Conference

We hope you find this topic challenging and that you would like to contribute to this book. We are looking forward to your abstract. If you want to discuss an idea with us before you send us the abstract, please contact us by email:

Editorial team

Svein Jentoft
Ratana Chuenpagdee
Alicia Said
Moenieba Isaacs


FAO. (2015). Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. Rome, Italy: United Nations.

Jentoft, S., Chuenpagdee, R., Barragán-Paladines, M.J., Franz, N. (editors). 2017. The Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines: Global Implementation. MARE Publication Series 14, Springer, Switzerland.