Life Above Water


As a global research network on small-scale fisheries, TBTI has produced several books, journal articles, and reports on key aspects of small-scale fisheries, geared mostly to academic audiences, the research community, and policy-makers. It has always been our ambition, however, to publish books and articles for the general public as part of our contribution to raise awareness about small-scale fisheries and elevate their profile in policy discourse.

This book, ‘Life Above Water,’ written by one of the founding members of TBTI, Prof. Svein Jentoft, offers thoughtful reflections about small-scale fisheries. His essays provide the public with a way to understand the ‘why’ question of social science research, at the same time encouraging fellow social and transdisciplinary scientists to continue to work towards making real change on the ground while maintaining scientific integrity. For those reading about small-scale fisheries for the first time, ‘Life Above Water’ brings to the fore the meaning and value of small-scale fisheries and why we should care about them.

Many of us find inspiration to learn about small-scale fisheries in order to help defend their rights. We sympathize with those who are powerless, and therefore struggle to survive. This is a legitimate attitude. Furthermore, social scientists need a higher justification for the work we do. Small-scale fishing people deserve not just our curiosity but also our compassion. Our engagement should, however, not be nurtured by pity but by a sense of social justice... With the excitement associated with the Blue Growth and Blue Economy concepts, attention must be paid to their distributional implications. These are new initiatives with powerful sponsors. It is essential that they do not marginalize small-scale fisheries even further. [S. Jentoft, Life Above Water].


Svein Jentoft

Svein Jentoft is Professor Emeritus at the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway. His long career as a social scientist specializing on fisheries management and fisheries communities has yielded numerous articles and books. He has led and been involved in many international projects, working in the Global South as well as in the North. He also has a long time interest in the conditions of indigenous peoples in Nicaragua and his native Norway. In 2018, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and a ʻFriend of Small-Scale Fisheriesʼ award at the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries  Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Jentoft is a founding member of TBTI, and has been leading a working group on ʻGoverning the Governanceʼ and a research cluster related to the ʻSSF Guidelinesʼ. In that capacity, he has edited and authored several TBTI books and articles. ʻLife Above Waterʼ, his latest contribution, inaugurates the new TBTI Global Book Series, which aims to highlight why we need to pay close attention to small-scale fisheries.

CH 18

Chapter 18 of the book, titled 'Life Above Water' can be directly downloaded - simply CLICK HERE.


This book is available in the e-book format. To download the book, CLICK HERE.

TBTI Global Book Series

Life Above Water is the first book published under TBTI Global Book Series. This is a new publication series that aims to highlight why we need to pay close attention to small-scale fisheries. The series will be of use to anyone interested in learning more about small-scale fisheries, especially about their important contribution to livelihoods, well-being, poverty alleviation and food security, as well as to those who are keen to help raise profile of small-scale fisheries in the policy realm.