New e-book release: The Gift of Community

The Gift of Community
More Essays on Human Experiences of Small-Scale Fisheries

Written by Svein Jentoft

This book is a follow up, or a continuation rather, of the one I published in 2019 as part of the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) Global Book Series, titled ‘Life Above Water: Essays on human experiences of small-scale fisheries’. The design and purpose of the current book are the same. The introduction in the 2019 book could also work here, even if this book has a sharper focus on communities…

All chapters focus on small-scale fisheries as a socio-economic and cultural activity, as a social scientist would write them. Small-scale fisheries are all those things, and they are intricately connected and played out in a community setting. The aim of the book is to explain how they come together and must be seen as a whole. I discuss what this means for the way small-scale fisheries work and how they must be governed…

To exist, small-scale fisheries communities need fish and fishers. There are also things that communities offer that small-scale fisheries cannot do without. These are the gifts of community that I talk about in this book. They are the things the small-scale fisheries get by being embedded in local communities. The gift of community is not part of a transaction; it does not come with a price-tag. The community's main purpose is not to serve the fishing industry but to serve the people living there… The gift of community is, as with family, neither charity nor luxury, but a necessity like the food the fisher brings home. The gift of the community makes small-scale fisheries possible.

Svein Jentoft
Professor Emeritus at the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway

The ‘The Gift of Community’ is a collection of stories about hope, about the joy of being in the communities, witnessing and learning why small-scale fisheries matter to them. It helps us sort through some of the tangling aspects that affect small-scale fisheries governance, and think about innovative ways to address them, through different ways of learning and knowing, or through different images. The book brings us closer to small-scale fisheries even if we do not feel that we are very connected to them. The book helps ease some of the concerns about the future of small-scale fisheries as the basis for their existence still seems intact when looking through family and community lenses.

Professor Jentoft was working on the book manuscript during the COVID-19 pandemic. He wrote the acknowledgements on his 75th birthday. He took us on a precious journey and has given us so much of himself with this book. All we can do in return is to use what we learn from reading this book, as well as his book # 1 in the series – ‘Life Above Water’, and do our best to remain hopeful and be enthusiastic about what we can do, individually and collectively, to help make small-scale fisheries and coastal communities sustainable and viable around the world.

Ratana Chuenpagdee
TBTI Global

The book is available for free, in the e-book format.

You can choose between two sizes: smaller (2MB) and larger (10MB).

Click on the buttons below to download the book.

Svein Are bilde-s

Svein Jentoft is Professor Emeritus at the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway. His long career as a social scientist specializing on fisheries management and fisheries communities has yielded numerous articles and books. He has been involved in and led many international projects in both the Global South and North. Jentoft is a founding member of TBTI, and has been leading a working group on ʻGoverning the Governanceʼ and a research cluster related to the ʻSSF Guidelinesʼ. He has edited and authored several TBTI books including ʻLife Above Waterʼ (published 2019).

TBTI Global Book Series

The Gift of Community: More Essays on Human Experiences of Small-Scale Fisheries is the ninth book published under TBTI Global Book Series. This publication series aims to highlight why we need to pay close attention to small-scale fisheries. The series will be of use to anyone interested in learning more about small-scale fisheries, especially about their important contribution to livelihoods, well-being, poverty alleviation and food security, as well as to those who are keen to help raise profile of small-scale fisheries in the policy realm.

How to cite

Svein Jentoft. 2023. The Gift of Community: More Essays on Human Experiences of Small-Scale Fisheries. TBTI Global Publication Series, St. John's, NL,Canada.