A new online portal launched this week to promote more sustainable small-scale fisheries. Developed by a global coalition of fisheries organisations, the interactive site connects fishers, fishworkers, communities and allies worldwide to share and learn together.
“The challenges facing small-scale fisheries and those who rely on them are immense. Through the SSF hub, those working in this field can connect, exchange learning and improve practice” said Agatha Ogada, Partner Support Technician in Kenya at Blue Ventures, “For example, I can learn from small-scale fisheries experts in the Pacific about approaches that could be adapted to tackle the issues we face in Kenya.”
The livelihoods of around 100 million people worldwide depend on small-scale fisheries, almost all of whom live in lower income countries, often in communities with high levels of poverty. The SSF Hub fills a critical need to help fishers and fishing communities share experiences in fisheries management with their peers around the world, providing access to the latest innovations and research.
“Fishing and aquatic foods are critical to meeting our global need for nutrition and livelihoods,” said Dr Jenny Oates, Knowledge Development Manager at Blue Ventures, “Nine out of 10 full-time and part-time jobs in the fishing industry are in small-scale fisheries, and about half of the workforce are women. Nearly all the fish caught by small-scale fishers is consumed locally. Small-scale fishers deserve support, and the SSF Hub is one way we can widen access to sharing of important knowledge and resources.”
The Small-Scale Fisheries Resource and Collaboration Hub – or SSF Hub − incorporates resources in 20 languages, with online discussion forums, videos, case studies, regional and topic-based groups and practical tools to support local fisheries management and governance. The portal is accessible via mobile devices and includes instant translation so the community can interact without language barriers.
“Having access to information and experiences from around the world contributes to the empowerment of small-scale fisheries actors, allowing them to better engage in or lead decision-making processes about their livelihoods,” said Vera Agostini, Deputy Director of Capture Fisheries of the Fisheries Division of FAO. “It also allows development partners to learn about each other’s tools and experiences and open up opportunities for the kind of partnerships and synergies we will need to implement the SSF Guidelines.”
The SSF Hub was designed for and with fishers, fish workers and their communities and allies − in total over 100 people from 19 countries — representing fisher organisations, conservation groups and expert advisers. As well as playing a key role in the development of the SSF hub, Blue Ventures is moderating the platform’s ICT4Fisheries Network Group with South African social enterprise, Abalobi. The group is a forum for sharing information and ideas about the use of technology in supporting sustainable small-scale fisheries management.
Small-scale fisheries are critical to achieving many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including helping to alleviate poverty, establish food security, support good health and nutrition and provide economic security to millions of people. Recognising the role of small-scale fisheries in supporting thriving communities and in achieving the SDGs is an important pathway toward a more sustainable future for all.
The launch of the SSF Hub, led by the Environmental Defense Fund, coincides with the annual meeting of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Fisheries taking place this week, and responds to the FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (or SSF Guidelines) to support the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and fishing communities.
Join the ICT4Fisheries Group
Register for free for the global launch party of the SSF hub