SSF Rights

Population expansion, aquaculture, the growing tourism sector, marine protected areas, the emergence of other marine industries such as offshore oil and gas extraction and transportation, and increasing demands on fish and other seafood products have contributed to intensifying competition within coastal zones, and marine and inland waters. Effects of such competition are mostly felt by small-scale fishers who depend heavily on access to shorelines, which are their homes for activities such as shellfish gathering, gleaning, and near-shore or beach seine fisheries, landing and anchoring boats. The voice of these fishers is often drowned out and their rights are frequently violated by economically and politically powerful individuals..

The ‘SSF Right’ cluster is closely related to the TBTI ‘Defending the Beach’ working group. This working group explored the challenges SSF face in response to new movements toward privatization and enclosure, starting with North America and then expanding into other regions. The working group examined the development and implementation of neoliberal policy (ideology, law, practice) and how it has been applied to fisheries policy. It also looked at how people who continue to depend on SSF are responding to, and sometimes resisting, these changes. In November 2015 a Special Section of Marine Policy, edited by Evelyn Pinkerton & Reade Davis was published. The Special Section provided a review of the ways in which policies of enclosure, privatization, and regulations have occurred in North America and examined the consequences they have had for SSF in practice. A second Special Issue in Marine Policy on the same topic but global in scope is currently being developed. The issue, edited by Evelyn Pinkerton, will include papers about New Zealand, Iceland, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Malawi, Australia, Malaysia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, British Columbia, Washington State, New England, and Alaska. Some papers will focus on the resistance of small-scale fishing communities in constructing alternatives to neoliberalism; some will be about the damage being done: ocean grabbing, the impact on human rights and socio-political processes in coastal communities or general public policy formation.


The ‘SSF Rights’ research cluster will broaden the discussion from privatization and enclosure to address the issues related to various types of rights for small-scale fishing people. In accord with the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), the SSF Rights cluster will emphasize the need for small-scale fishing communities to secure tenure rights to the resources, which form the basis for their social and cultural well-being, their livelihoods and their sustainable development. The SSF Rights cluster will also conduct research to support the realization of the right of small-scale fishing people to adequate food and nutrition. Finally, the SSF Rights cluster will contribute towards the implementation of human rights-based approach to sustainable SSF, as promoted in the SSF Guidelines.


For more information on participation in this cluster please scroll down to “How to contribute” section. 


In order to achieve the above objectives, the cluster will:

1. Review existing literature on SSF rights, situating it within the broader context of human rights, and SSF guidelines;

2. Promote the sharing of knowledge, information and issues related to SSF Rights through ISSF platform;

3. Conduct research to examine factors and conditions affecting the SSF rights at the local, national and regional levels; and

4. Suggest pathways towards the implementation of human rights-based approach to sustainable SSF.

Research questions

1. What kinds of rights exist in small-scale fisheries and what institutions (norms, rules and regulations) promote them?

2. What factors or conditions have direct or indirect effects on SSF rights?

3. What is involved in applying human rights-based approach to sustainable SSF and how does that differ from other rights-based systems?



1. A Special Issue in Marine Policy

2. ISSF layer on ‘Experiences’ related to ‘SSF Rights’

3. ‘SSF Rights’ community handbook

4. E-book and other publications on related topics


Contribution of knowledge, information and experience to ISSF is on-going.

More specific contributions will be announced at a later stage.

Comments and suggestions in terms of what the cluster should do is welcomed at any time.

How to contribute

1. Sign-up for the SSF Rights

Check our website and have a look at our current initiatives and activities. SSF Rights cluster welcomes the participation of practitioners, scholars, managers, and all those people related to and interested in SSF Rights theme.


2. Contribute to the ISSF State-of-the-Art layer (SOTA)

One of the main commitments of TBTI is to make information about SSF comprehensive and available to everyone. If you are author of a paper on ‘SSF Rights’ or you know of a paper about this topic, you can share this information on the ISSF SOTA layer.


3. Contribute to the ISSF Experience layer

Tell us about your thoughts and experiences on issues related to ‘SSF Rights’ by sharing video, photo and text material on the new ISSF Experience layer.


4. Complete SSF Profile 

SSF Profiles’ dataset allows anyone to record and share information about SSF in communities, regions, countries, etc. using a common core set of characteristics describing the fishery. We encourage all cluster members to help complete the  SSF profile online or use the  fillable form and email it to We don’t expect that you will have all the required information. Please consult colleagues or literature as necessary.



Additional material

TBTI webinar series on SSF RightsLets talk about SSF rights and access

Pinkerton, E., and Davis, R. (2015). Neoliberalism and the politics of enclosure in North American small-scale fisheriesMarine Policy,  61, 303–312.

Pinkerton, E., and Davis, R. (2015). (Eds.) Special Section on Neoliberalism and North American Small-Scale Fisheries, Marine Policy, Volume 61.

Cluster coordinators


Evelyn Pinkerton, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Reade Davis Memorial University, Canada

Moenieba Isaacs, University of Western Cape, South Africa

Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University, Canada

Cluster members
Name Affiliation Country
Abobi, Seth Mensah Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research Germany
Anatole, Danto CNRS / ApoliMer / UMR LEMAR / UMR ARENES France
Akintola, Shehu Lagos State University Nigeria
Alp-Ercelan, Aly Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Pakistan
Arce-Ibarra, A. Minerva El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Mexico
Arthur ,Robert MRAG UK
Beitl, Christine University of Maine USA
Brito-Millan, Marlene Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD USA
Cakacaka, Akuila Institute of Tropical Marine Research Germany
Cavaco, Patricia Sustainability Consultant Portugal
Chambers, Catherine University Centre of the Westfjords Iceland
Da Silva Batista, Vandick Universidade Federal de Alagoas Brazil
Dario, Carla University of Miami - RSMAS USA
Delaney, Alyne Aalborg University Denmark
Díaz Plá, Rodrigo Grupo de Investigación de la Pesca Artesanal Chile
Dutka-Gianelli, Jynessa University of Florida Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences USA
Elegbede, Isa Brandenburg University of Technology Germany
Fakoya, Kafayat Lagos State University, OJO Nigeria
Ferguson, Caroline Stanford University, E-IPER USA
Friedman, Kim FAO Italy
Garside, Ruth University of Exeter Medical School UK
Gaviola, Saúl Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero Argentina
Gaynor, Amanda Rare USA
Ginindza, Joseph University of the Western Cape South Africa
Gómez Mestres, Sílvia Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
Gorgerino, Catherina Grupo de Investigación de la Pesca Artesanal Chile
He, Kevin Oceana USA
Jatoi, Qamer Uddin University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa Pakistan
Jouanneau, Charlène Charlène Jouanneau Consultant France
Kamrani, Ehsan University of Hormozgan,Faculty of marine sciences and Technologies, Fisheries department Iran
Kim, Onnuri Duke University US
Lau, Jacqueline ARC Centre for Excellece in Coral Reef Studies Australia
Leite, Marta Natural Resources Institute,University of Manitoba Canada
Lueiro, Xoán Inacio Amoedo Consulatant Spain
Martinez Tovar, Ivan Ocean Outcomes USA
Marques, Elineide UFT Brazil
McClean, Nick University of Technology Sydney Australia
Mills, Elyse International Institute of Social Studies Netherlands
Msomphora, Mbachi UiT the Arctic University of Norway Norway
Muralidharan, Rahul Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) India
Nakandakari, Alexis The Nature Conservancy Peru
Narvarte, Maite Andrea CONICET-Escuela Superior de Ciencias Marinas- Universidad Nacional del Comahue Argentina
Nembhard, Nadine CNFO Belize
Nuno, Ana University of Exeter UK
Ragusa, Gianluca International Independent consultant - Fisheries and aquaculture specialist Italy
Ramenzoni, Victoria Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University USA
Rouhani, Qurban Rhodes University South Africa
Said, Alicia PhD Candidate UK
Santos, Anna Alaska Fisheries Science Center USA
Singleton, Rebecca University of British Columbia/ Blue Ventures Conservation Canada
Soares, Lisa University of Warwick UK
Solari, Natasha Stellenbosch University South Africa
Taiwo, Ganzallo Sylvester Lagos State University Nigeria
Thomassin, Annick McGill University/Australian National University Australia
Tubino, Rafael Universidade Federal Fluminense Brazil
Ünal, Vahdet Ege University, Faculty of Fisheries Turkey
Urteaga, Jose E-IPER / Stanford University Nicaragua
Whitty, Tara Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries Research Network, Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation USA
Wise, Sarah AFSC, NOAA USA
Yingst, Alexandra University Centre of the Westfjords Iceland
Zhao, Lily University of Washington USA