Nov 21 2019 – today is World Fisheries Day!

Putting the spotlight on small-scale fisheries

The peace when you’re out on the ocean, it’s very special and for as long as I can, I’ll be at it. *

Each World Fisheries Day is an opportunity to reflect on the ever-increasing knowledge about fishing, fishers, coastal communities, and the status of the oceans and the fish stocks. For fishers, this is another way to highlight the issues facing the sector and send a message about the value of their work. For the rest of us, it is a day to celebrate our oceans and the people whose livelihoods depend on it.

[*Quote from Chriss Dunphy, small-scale fisher from NL, Canada]

From one fisher to the other: a message from Mitchell Lay

World Fisheries Day commemorates and celebrates the contributions of small-scale fishers to global life, [and on this day] we want to really focus on small-scale fishers empowering themselves, to advocate for user rights, and also to advocate for equity and equal opportunities in the marine space, particularly with the emerging threats to marine economies and inland fisheries economies, as well and the significant negative impacts that we… are exposed to and will continue to be exposed to... So we want to encourage small-scale fishers on this day to celebrate your contribution to society, to the health of your people and your communities but also to strengthen your organizations so that you may advocate for continuing benefits, both to yourself and to your communities.

Mitchell Lay is a small-scale fisher from Antigua and Barbuda with more than 20 years experience in small-scale fishing, and in small- scale fisheries organizations and their development in the Caribbean Network of Fisher-Folk Organisation (CNFO) and Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI). He is currently attending the FAO  International Symposium on Fisheries Sustainability: Strengthening the Science-Policy Nexus, where this message was recorded.

From the wider community 

FAO symposium, Italy

Many of those committed to sustaining the livelihoods of small-scale fisheries gathered this week in Rome at the FAO  International Symposium on Fisheries Sustainability: Strengthening the Science-Policy Nexus. One session is particular, was of interest to those of us passionate about small-scale fisheries: Securing Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods.

This session focused on the challenge of achieving equitable and sustainable livelihoods for the millions of women and men who depend on marine and inland fisheries production and value chains for their livelihoods, and whose daily work helps feed billions of people around the world.

The session, chaired by TBTI Director, Ratana Chuenpagdee, is available for viewing on FAO website.

Celebration at the Federal University of Technology, Nigeria

Federal University of Technology, Akure in Nigeria marked the World Fisheries Day with a suite of events, including rally, exhibition and a lecture on 'Resilient Fisheries in the face of Climate Change', given by Dr. Harrison Charo Karisa (WorldFish Country Director for Egypt-Nigeria).

The events were organized by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology and attended by a wide spectrum of audience, including government representatives, fishers, aquaculturists, academics and others.

Special seminar at Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, South Africa

Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) hosted a special seminar on 21 November to celebrate International World Fisheries Day. The seminar focused on the issue of 'Is there space for small-scale fisheries in the Blue Economy?' with the discussants debating the current struggles and challenges facing small-scale fisheries in and out of the Blue Economy from local, regional and global perspectives.

The presenters included:

  • Sabelo Mzileni, Kwa-Zulu Natal fisherman and Deputy Chair of Coastal Links KZN
  • Elyse Mills, PhD student at Institute of Social Studies in the Hague and visiting scholar at PLAAS
  • Junaid Francis, Sustainable Fisheries Manager, WWF and PLAAS student
  • Moenieba Isaacs, PLAAS/UWC

For more information, check the PLAAS website and social media.