TBTI in Australia: Sharing a global view on small-scale fisheries research and practice

Ratana Chuenpagdee, TBTI Project Director, recently participated at two events in Australia in which she shared insights from TBTI and discussed the future of small-scale fisheries in Australia and elsewhere. On February 19 and 20, Ratana took part in the workshop 'Social Matters - Social science and the Australian seafood industry: Our past, our future' as a guest speaker, and on February 23 she visited the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University for a seminar and meetings with colleagues from WorldFish.

Workshop  'Social Matters - Social science and the Australian seafood industry: Our past, our future' | 19-20 February | Melbourne, Australia

The workshop brought together some of the most experienced social scientists in the country to discuss how we can best engage the challenges that will face the seafood industry over the next 20 years. The group developed a shared narrative of past experiences and lessons learned, and analyzed current gaps in research and methodologies to meet articulated needs of industry and government now and into the future.

Ratana Chuenpagdee offered insights into the global picture based on her experience building and maintaining a network focusing on social science research on small-scale fisheries, something the group wanted to consider engaging on a national basis. It was a good opportunity to bring up awareness and to promote TBTI among the researchers based in this part of the world.

The workshop was held on February 19 and 20th, 2018 in downtown Melbourne and was hosted by Deakin University and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, which is part of the Australian Government.

Seminar 'Unpacking the 90% - a comprehensive look at small-scale fisheries' | 23 February | Townsville, Australia

For the seminar 'Unpacking the 90% - a comprehensive look at small-scale fisheries', Ratana shared TBTI's vision and work with about 30 attendants, being very well received by the centre and university audience. Her presentation highlighted key challenges associated with small-scale fisheries research and governance and offered suggestions about ways forward.

According to her, small-scale fisheries are the dominating sector in terms of number of people involved and contribution to local food security and sustainable livelihoods around the world. Yet, information and knowledge about small-scale fisheries is still incomplete, making it difficult for the sector to realize its potentials.

She further explained that with the current concern about overexploitation and unsustainable development of fisheries and marine resources, and about the overall health of the aquatic ecosystems, greater attention is required to enhance our understanding about small-scale fisheries, where solutions to some of the problems may be found.

Ratana concluded that it is imperative that policies and management decisions are made to promote the viability of this important sector and to reduce their vulnerability. From the research perspective, this means thinking innovatively about how best to draw on multiple academic disciplines, as well as the knowledge of fisheries people and practitioners, in the examination of issues and in the articulation of both the problems and the solutions.

Ratana also took the opportunity for a full day visit at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. There, she had a series of one-on-one meetings with members of the centre and affiliates, which provided a valuable opportunity to reaffirm partnership, and plan ahead existing collaborations, including support for the 3WSFC. The trip to Townsville was financially sponsored by WorldFish, the Resilient SSF Research program.