TBTI at MARE ‘People and the Sea’ Conference 2021

On June 28-July 2, 2021, marine social science scholars from around the globe gathered, this time through online platform, for the 11th edition of the MARE People & the Sea Conference, under the theme 'Limits to Blue Growth'.

Too Big To Ignore - Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research had a strong presence at the conference, as evident from the sessions described below. Despite the online medium, the conference was a an excellent opportunity for TBTI members and partners to connect with the scientific community and discuss cutting-edge research on marine social sciences.

Blue Justice Illustrated: Stories, Theories, Practice

With the rise of Blue Economy/Blue Growth initiatives, the issue of social justice for small-scale fisheries requires due attention. TBTI argues that one should not discuss Blue Economy/Blue Growth disassociated from the ‘Blue Justice’ for small-scale fisheries, which argues for due attention on small-scale fisheries given their prominent role in the ocean, as users and contributors to its sustainability. Nowadays, many researchers and practitioners use ‘Blue Justice’ to frame and investigate the Blue Economy/Blue Growth since initial discussion at the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress (Chiang Mai, Thailand). TBTI continues to call awareness to Blue Justice for Small-Scale Fisheries, with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 - Ocean Conference commitment, peer-reviewed publications, digital entries, and a mobilizing network to share stories about injustices to small-scale fisheries. This session highlighted the TBTI architecture for Blue Justice and showcased a number of cases of ‘Blue Justice’ in small-scale fisheries from around the world, as described in the upcoming TBTI Book in the MARE Series (Springer) on ‘Blue Justice: Small-Scale Fisheries in a Sustainable Ocean Economy’. The session also invited discussion about what we can do to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries individually and collectively.

Strengthening connections through research on dried fish social economies in Asia 2: Methods

Dried Fish Matters project seeks to improve our understanding of the dried fish, in particular its value for many of the most vulnerable peoples of the South and Southeast Asia region, where dried fish has had, and continues to have significant nutritional, economic, social, and cultural importance. TBTI Director Ratana Chuenpagdee participated in one of the three sessions the Dried Fish Matters  project organized at MARE. Her talk on 'Themes and questions: results from a deliberative exercise on constructing social economies of dried fish' was part of the session that focused on the overall methodology and tools of the Dried Fish Matters project, focusing on the project's attempts to innovate in terms of knowledge co-construction within the project team and in collaboration with actors in dried fish value chains.

Small-scale fisheries and Everything Blue - the perspective of fisher folks on Blue Growth

This panel shared some of the discussions brought up in informal webinars held during 2020 on the topic of 'Small-scale fisheries and Everything Blue' where representatives from civil society organizations, fishworker and indigenous people’s social movements, research institutions, and development aid agencies came together in order to discuss prominent ‘blue’ agendas and discourses. Trends in the development of the ocean (‘blue’) economy were identified and various results of Blue Economy policies were examined in relation to their impact on small-scale fisheries. The focus of this session was on suggested strategies and ways forward for a transformation to a more inclusive and just blue economy, all starting from a common grounding in the SSF Guidelines. TBTI Director Ratana Chuenpagdee was one of the session panelists.

Prospects for small-scale fisheries transitioning from vulnerability to viability

A number of TBTI members presented in the sessions organized by the TBTI partner V2V Global Partnership, which aims to identify the diverse factors and conditions contributing to the ‘vulnerability’ of SSF and engage collaboratively with small-scale fishing communities and other key NGOs, government and university partners to enhance SSF viability. The goal of this two-part panel was to critically examine the diverse factors and conditions contributing to the vulnerability of small-scale fisheries, and to reflect on ways that are crucial to enhance their viability. The terms vulnerability and viability were not discussed just in an economic sense but also to include social, political, and ecological aspects of small-scale fisheries.