SSF Guidelines

The SSF Guidelines were endorsed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in June 2014 after a long participatory consultation process. The process involved more than 4,000 stakeholders from about 120 countries including government representatives, small-scale fisher organizations, civil society groups, researchers, and other interest groups. The endorsement of the SSF Guidelines by COFI members was indeed a landmark achievement, but now the challenge of implementation lies ahead.

The SSF Guidelines aim at providing guidance for the governance and development of small-scale fisheries in the context of global and national efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty. The SSF Guidelines are broad in scope, and their implementation will necessarily engage a wide range of government agencies, civil society organizations, and small-scale fisheries stakeholders, along the entire chain from harvest to markets. FAO is helping to create awareness and to facilitate the implementation process of the SSF Guidelines around the world, but the success or failure in their implementation relies first and foremost on the states and civil society organizations  ‒ particularly fisher and fishworker organizations ‒ to whom the SSF Guidelines are primarily addressed.

More information and guidance about the cluster and the SSF Guidelines can be found in the Concept note”. For more information on participation in this cluster please scroll down to “How to contribute” sections. 


The SSF Guidelines cluster aims to support the implementation process through a methodological, analytical and descriptive approach by documenting and analyzing experiences of implementation currently taking place and by providing inputs to facilitate implementation.


Research questions

Our aim is to illustrate how implementation processes are conducted, where, and by whom, and whether governments around the world are ready to implement them. If the response to the latter is no, we are also interested in addressing “why”. Important questions for this cluster include therefore: to what extent national fishery policies correspond to the principles and guidance provided by the SSF Guidelines? What is the gap between the legal and policy frameworks of the states and the SSF Guidelines proposed lines of action? How can the SSF Guidelines be inserted within national regulatory, legal and policy frameworks, considering the current situation for SSF?


The final outcome of this exercise would be a better understanding of elements of conducive environment for the SSF Guidelines through implementation research as well as a collection of good practices. Additionally, this cluster will propose indicators to monitor progress of the implementation around the world. All these products will be supported by interactive instruments, including an “interactive implementation map” which will be available within the information system platform on the TBTI website. Ideally, a multi-language (i.e., English, Spanish, and French) interface of the instruments used (e.g. questionnaires) and results (e.g. research briefs) obtained through this initiative will also be made available within the TBTI Information System on Small-Scale Fisheries (ISSF).

Timeline / Work plan

We call on all individuals or institutions, including universities, research institutes and community-based organizations interested in contributing to this exciting thematic cluster by actively participating in the generation of these outcomes. Since TBTI can only provide seed funding to support basic activities in the cluster, it is important to stress that the COFI members, when endorsing the SSF Guidelines, have committed themselves to provide research funding to the sector (paragraph 11.9). This is something that stakeholders may need to remind them of.

More information and guidance about how to take part in this initiative and how to contribute is available in the Concept Note”. For more information about the opportunities and obstacles for implementation of SSF Guidelines, be sure to read the recent article on this topic written by Prof. Svein Jentoft. If you would like to get involved in the cluster, please contact us at

Additional Material

TBTI webinar series on SSF Guidelines: Walking the talk for SSF Guidelines: Role of research


The SSF Guidelines are available in the following languages:


An at-a-glance version of the SSF Guidelines is available in the following languages:


1. ICSF. (2016). National Workshop on Capacity-building for the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines). March 21-22 2016. New Delhi, India.

2. ICSF. (2016). Social relations and dynamics shaping the implementation of the SSF Guidelines in South Africa ICSF 2016.

3. ICSF. (2015). Workshop to introduce the FAO voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication (VG-SSF) in Tanzania. August 17-18, 2015. Bagamoyo, Tanzania

4. FAO. (2015). Near Summary Conclusions and Recommendations of the Near East and North Africa Regional  Consultation Workshop: Towards the implementation of the Voluntary  Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries withing the Context of Food security and Poverty Eradication. December 7-10, 2015. Muscat, Oman.

5. FAO. (2015). Summary Conclusions and Recommendations of the South Asia FAO-BOBLME Regional Consultation on the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security. November  23-26, 2015. Colombo, Sri Lanka.

6. FAO. (2015). Conclusions of the East Africa Consultation Workshop on improving small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication. September 15-18, 2015. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

7. FAO. (2015). Summary Conclusions and Recommendations of the South East Asia Regional Consultation Workshop on the Implementation of the Voluntary Guideliens for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. August 24-27, 2015. Ramada Bintang Bali Resort, Indonesia.

8. Shenoy, S. (2015). Report of the ICSF-BOBLME India (East Coast) workshop: Implementing the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). 6 – 7 March, 2015. Chennai, India.

9. Metzner, R., and Franz, N. (2015). SSF Guidelines: Vital momentum for small-scale fishers. Rural 21. The international journal for rural development. 49(3), 20-21.

10. FAO. (2015). Towards the implementation of the SSF Guidelines: Proceedings of the Workshop on the Development of a Global Assistance Programme in Support of the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. December 8, 2014. Rome, Italy.

11. The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF). (2014). Towards Socially Just and Sustainable Fisheries: ICSF Workshop on Implementing the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). 21 to 24 July 2014 Puducherry, India.

12. National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) & the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF). (2011). Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries: Towards FAO Guidelines on Marine and Inland Small-scale Fisheries. 19-21 September, 2011. Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

How to contribute

Tracking of the guidelines implementation

TBTI has developed a layer in the Information System on Small-Scale Fisheries that aims to capture information around the world related to the implementation of the guidelines (i.e. who’s doing what, where and when related to the guidelines). Interactive world map shows where the activities take place and where more efforts may be required. Please help us populate the database and track the progress of the guidelines implementation.

 SSF profiles

One of the main commitments of TBTI is to make information about SSF comprehensive and available to everyone. The SSF profile in ISSF is developed with this in mind. Currently, ISSF is running the SSF profiles drive to complete the 200 profiles. We would like to encourage all cluster members to help with this task by completing 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.


SSF Guidelines Cluster at MARE 2015

We held a special session at the MARE Conference in Amsterdam, 24-26 June, 2015 where we presented the guidelines, discussed the implementation, as well as the research we can do to support the implementation of the guidelines. Click on TBTI@MARE report to read the cluster discussion highlights from  the TBTI cluster meeting in Amsterdam.

Edited book about the guidelines implementation

The SSF Guidelines are simply one of the most significant landmarks for small-scale fisheries around the world. They are comprehensive in terms of topics covered and very progressive with their foundation on human rights and other key principles. It can be anticipated that implementing the guidelines, whether at local, national or regional levels, will not be easy. Thus, research on implementation challenges in various contexts is an important contribution from TBTI SSF Guidelines Cluster. The call for contribution to all those interested in writing about this topic was conducted in 2015.

In 2017, TBTI published the book ‘The Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines: Global Implementation‘ edited by S. Jentoft,  R. Chuenpagdee, M. J. Barragán-Paladines and N. Franz. This volume of 32 case studies is written by contributions from more than 90 authors from around the world. The book was officially launched at the MARE 2017 conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For more information about the book, CLICK HERE.

Cluster coordinators

Svein Jentoft, UIT – The Arctic University of Norway

Nicole Franz, FAO, Rome

María José Barragán Paladines, Charles Darwin Research Station, Galapagos Islands

Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University, St. John’s

Cluster members
Name Affiliation Country
Abobi, Seth Mensah Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research Germany
Abura, Samson Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization Uganda
Alp-Ercelan, Aly Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Pakistan
Al-HarrasyBadria Khamis, Ali Department of Marine Resources, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Tanzania
Antonova, Anna University of Leeds UK
Robert Arthur MRAG UK
Baigun, Claudio Instituto de Investigación e Ingenieria Ambiental Universidad Nacional de San Martin/Wetlands International Argentia
Balaraman, Subramanian Our Sea Our People India
Bannwart, Janaina Fishery coordinator of Epagri Brazil
Bassett, Hannah Univesity of Washington USA
Bavinck, Maarten University of Amsterdam The Netherlands
Bazzino, Gaston CIBNOR (Northwest Biological Research Center) Mexico
Beitl, Christine University of Maine USA
Bennett, Abigail Duke University USA
Blythe, Jessica James Cook University Australia
Breckwoldt, Annette Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) Bremen
Buxton, Jordan San Diego Zoo Global USA
Cakacaka, Akuila Institute of Tropical Marine Research Germany
Campbell, Brooke University of Wollongong Australia
Cavaco, Patricia Open University Portugal
Chamanara, Vahid Hormozgan University Iran
Chong, Carolina University of Bremen Bremen
Cohen, Philippa WorldFish Australia
Coswig Kalikoski, Daniela FAO Italy
Crowder, Larry Center for Ocean Solutions USA
Da Silva Batista, Vandick Universidade Federal de Alagoas Brazil
Daliri, Moslem Hormozgan University Iran
Dao, Nga York University Canada
Darquea, Jodie Scripps Institution of Oceanography Ecuador
De Freitas, Debora Biosciences Institute São Paulo State University-UNESP, Coastal Campus Brazil
de la Torre Castro, Maricela Stockholm University Sweden
Defeo, Omar Faculty of Sciences Uruguay
Delisle, Aurelie Australian National Centre for Ocean resources & Security Australia
Dutka-Gianelli, Jynessa University of Florida Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences USA
Elegbede, Isa Brandenburg University of Technology Germany
Evans, Louisa University of Exeter UK
Fakoya, Kafayat Lagos State University Nigeria
Finkbeiner, Elena Stanford University USA
Floro, Julien Marine Conservationist Portugal
Fofandi, Kamlesh Volunteer India
Friedman, Kim FAO Italy
Gasalla, Mary University of São Paulo Brazil
Garcia-Quijano, Carlos University of Rhode Island USA
Gaynor, Amanda Rare USA
Ginindza, Joseph University of the Western Cape South Africa
Granados-Dieseldorff, Pablo Rare - Fish Forever Mexico
Hardin, Hardin Indonesia Marine Fisheries Department Indonesia
He, Kevin Oceana USA
Headley, Maren Universidad Marista de Merida Mexico
Hicks, Christina Stanford University and James Cook University USA
Hisham, Jafer Department of Fisheries India
Hudson, Joanna Blue Ventures UK
Hudson Weaver, Amy Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparaja AC Mexico
Ibengwe, Lilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Tanzania
Islam, Mahmudul Sylhet Agricultural University Bangladesh
Jadhav, Adam Dakshin Foundation India
Jayasinghe, Anuradhj Post graduate student Sri Lanka
Johnson, Magnus University of Hull UK
Jouanneau, Charlène Charlène Jouanneau Consultant France
Kamrani, Ehsan University of Hormozgan Iran
Kasuti, Joseph State department of fisheries and the blue economy Kenya
Kehinde, Adekeye Fisheries society of Nigeria Nigeria
Khan, Zaidy United Nations Nippon Fellowship Grenada
Kim, Onnuri Duke University USA
Kochalski, Sophia University of Liverpool UK
Kolding, Jeppe University of Bergen Norway
Kungwan Juntarashote Coastal Development Centre Thailand
Lam, Mimi University of British Columbia Canada
Lamb, Norlan Conch - Conserving our natural cultural history Belize
Lau, Jacqueline ARC Centre for Excellece in Coral Reef Studies Australia
Lazar, Najih University of Rhode Island USA
Leeney, Ruth Protect Africa's Sawfishes Mozambique
Léopold, Marc Institut de Recherche pour le Développement France
Lindström, Lasse Stockholm University Sweden
Lloret, Josep University of Girona Spain
Lueiro, Xoán Inacio Amoedo Consultant Spain
Luomba, Joseph Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute Tanzania
Manyungwa-Pasani, Chikondi Department of Fisheries Malawi Malawi
Marin, Andres Stockholm University Chile/Sweden
Mattos, Sérgio Ministry of Planning Brazil
McClean, Nick University of Technology Sydney Australia
McClenachan, Loren Colby College USA
McConney, Patrick University of the West Indies Barbados
Mestres, Sílvia Gómez Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
Mhlanga, Wilson Department of Environment Science Bindura University of Science Education Zimbabwe
Miller, Alice International Pole and Line Foundation UK
Miller, Karly Marie University of California USA
Mills, Elyse International Institute of Social Studies The Neatherlands
Mphangwe Kosamu, Ishmael Bobby University of Malawi Malawi
Msomphora, Mbachi UiT the Arctic University of Norway Norway
Nakandakari, Alexis The Nature Conservancy Peru
Nakhshina, Maria University of Aberdeen UK
Napata, Ruby Institute of Fisheries Policy and Development Studies, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of the Philippines Visayas Philippines
Nauen, Cornelia Mundus maris - Sciences and Arts for Sustainability Belgium
Nembhard, Nadine CNFO Belize
Nuno, Ana University of Exeter UK
Palmer, Roy Aquaculture without Frontiers Australia
Pantazis, Alekos Independent researcher Greece
Parker, Kashiefa International Ocean Institute South Africa
Partelow, Stefan Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) Germany
Paulraj, Jawahar Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Fisheries University India
Peckham, Hoyt Stanford University USA
Pedersen, Carsten Masifundise South Africa
Phillips, Terrence Caribbean Natural Resources Institute Trinidad and Tobago
Pita, Cristina University of Aveiro Portugal
Ragusa, Gianluca International independent consultant - Fisheries and aquaculture specialist Italy
Rakotondrazafy Andriamampandry, Riambosoa Madagascar LMMA Network Madagascar
Ramenzoni, Victoria Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University USA
Ramírez, Alejandro Social-ecological systems lab Universidad Católica de Chile Chile
Ratzel, Meri independent research - socioeconomics - Fish Locally Collaborative USA
Reghu, Raghu Prakash Central Insitute Of Fisheries Technology India
Revold, Jens UiT-Arctic University of Norway Norway
Rohe, Janne Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) Germany
Ruperti Loor, Hans Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Spain
Sabau, Gabriela Memorial University Canada
Said, Alicia PhD Student, University of Kent UK
Satapornvanit, Arlene Nietes USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership Thailand
Schleit, Katie Ecology Action Centre Canada
Schneider, Katharina Heidelberg University Germany
Sequeira, Vera MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Center Portugal
Seto, Katherine UC Berkeley USA
Setubal, Sylvia Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Tocantins Brazil
Simmance, Alison University of Southampton UK
Simmance, Fiona University of Southampton UK
Snape, Robin University of Exeter Cyprus
Snyder, Hunter FAO USA
Sobo, Fatma Assistant Director of Fisheries Tanzania
Solari, Natasha Stellenbosch University South Africa
Soliman, Adam The Fisheries Law Centre Canada
Soares, Lisa University of Warwick UK
Sogbesan, Olubukola Lagos State University Nigeria
Steenbergen, Dirk Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security Australia
Stern, Edward The Fisheries Secretariat Sweden
Suebpala, Wichin Ramkhamhaeng University Thailand
Taiwo, Ganzallo Sylvester Lagos State University Nigeria
Travaille, Kendra University of Western Australia Australia
Trouillet, Brice University of Nantes France
Tubino, Rafael Universidade Federal Fluminense Brazil
Tupper, Mark Coastal Resources Association Philippines
Turner, Rachel University of Exeter UK
Ulman, Aylin University of Pavia Italy
Urteaga, Jose E-IPER / Stanford University Nicaragua
Wallemacq, Florence FAO Mauritius
Ward, Ansen Fisheries consultant UK
Wessels, Peter Dalhousie University Canada
Willman, Rolf Formerly FAO Germany
Xue, Guifang Ocean university of China China
Yingst, Alexandra University Centre of the Westfjords Iceland
Zaidman, Paula CONICET/Instituto de Biología Marina y Pesquera "Almirante Storni"/Universidad Nacional del Comahue Argentina