February 20 is the World Day of Social Justice!

The World Day of Social Justice is a great opportunity to highlight the issue of social justice and encourage conversation about injustices and inequity of women and men in SSF. It is also an opportunity to (re)think the ways in which SDGs could and should address the inequality in SSF. In the blue economy agenda, it means inclusion of SSF and community members as stakeholders with an eye towards power imbalances and inequity; bringing basic principles of justice to recognize that SSF have rights and priorities that cannot be ignored; and encouraging governments and other powerful entities to restore justice, making up for past wrongs in the marginalization of SSF.

Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries - A Global Scan: Volume II

Editors: Vesna Kerezi & Ratana Chuenpagdee
Publisher: TBTI Global
Explore the Blue Justice Stories from around the world.
Click on the pin at the selected location and open the PDF of the case study chapter.

Small-scale fisheries provide livelihoods and food security to millions of women and men around the word. They make important contribution to the local and national economy, as well as represent diverse value, cultural identity and heritage of many coastal communities. As commitments are being made to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), small-scale fisheries have even more prominent role to play, given their connection to land and sea and their intersection with all goals. Unfortunately, in the framing of the oceans as the new economic and development frontier, many development initiatives, promoted through Blue Growth and Blue Economy agenda, tend to ignore small-scale fisheries, excluding them from the discussion and putting them in disadvantaged situations.

It does not have to be this way. Some of these development agendas promote social and economic development objectives that align well with small-scale fisheries characteristics and values. More needs to be done to encourage good alignments as well as to adjust and re-balance sustainable development initiatives to fully benefit from the current and potential contributions of small-scale fisheries in achieving all SDGs. Pushing towards a more equitable and just space for small-scale fisheries requires, first and foremost, an understanding of the current situations, looking at the kind of injustices and inequity that may be happening and affecting women and men involved in small-scale fisheries, their families and their communities.  

With this in mind, TBTI has gathered stories and examples of policies, programs, projects, initiatives, regulatory frameworks, as well as other situations that create different types of injustice and inequity in small-scale fisheries. This first volume of the ‘Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries – A Global Scan’ e-book contains 18 stories from 14 countries.

The second volume, released in time to mark the 2020 World Day of Social Justice, contains 11 new case studies from 9 countries. These stories are also captured in the new ISSF ‘Blue Justice Alert’ dataset that allows anyone (including you!) to alert the world about injustice and other threats for small-scale fisheries in communities, regions, countries, etc.

Svein Jentoft on social justice and Blue Justice for small-scale fisheries

The Blue Justice emerged in the context of the Blue Economy, which governments and major international organizations are promoting around the world. It should also be thought of in the context or the UN Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 16. SDG 14b talks specifically about SSF, and SDG 16 about social justice. For TBTI, Blue Justice is about the justice of small-scale fisheries (SSF) in the Blue Economy, and the link between SDG 16 and SDG 14b, and how the SSF Guidelines fit into it.

In order to secure the justice of SSF in the Blue Economy, the implementation of the SSF Guidelines is essential. If states do nothing or little to implement the SSF Guidelines, the Blue Economy is likely to come at a loss for SSF. Their lack of power, fragmented institutions, political and social marginalization, and their poverty put them at a disadvantage.

Justice is a difficult concepts to define. The meaning of justice, and who deserves what, is a concern for humans since they started to form communities. It never went away. It has been an issue of deliberation and contestation among philosophers from the antiquity onwards. Much of our current politics and our daily interactions have justice as an underpinning concern.

Even if social justice is difficult to define because it is a wicked problem, we hardly need to arrive at some clear-cut definition before we act on injustice – which we know when we see it. We already have enough to go by. Also here, conceptual approximation is sufficient for us in order to act.

Excerpt from the lecture on Blue Justice from the TBTI 2020 TD online course

Few examples of injustice small-scale fisheries face across the world

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