Transforming the governance of small-scale fisheries

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Abstract

Despite their contribution to employment, food security, poverty eradication, and community well-being, small-scale fisheries often find themselves in a disadvantageous position globally relative to large-scale fisheries and other industries competing for marine space, resources, and government attention. By and large, small-scale fisheries are marginalized in every sense of the word: culturally, socially, economically, geographically, legally, and politically. Their unfavorable status is frequently perceived to be both a cause and effect of overfishing, unsustainable fishing practices, and governance failure; thus, their potential to modernize while participating in and delivering on sustainable development goals is less than optimal. Given that the majority of the world’s fisheries are small-scale, it is imperative that major changes take place in the conditions that determine the predicament of small-scale fisheries. For these reasons, in 2014, FAO member states endorsed the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), with the aim of encouraging states and civil society organizations to take steps to bring about the changes needed to improve the sustainability and viability of small-scale fisheries. The SSF Guidelines call for broad and complex governance interventions; however, as much as they can help create transformation within small-scale fisheries, governance systems themselves must also be transformed before real change can take place. Based on the analysis of 34 case studies of small-scale fisheries’ governance around the world, our synthesis reveals that small-scale fisheries’ governance is indeed undergoing different types of transformation and can take place in all governing modes. Further, these transformations occur at the operational, institutional, and the meta-levels of governance, which, from the perspective of the SSF Guidelines, is encouraging.

Keywords

Small-scale fisheries SSF guidelines Interactive governance Social transformation Implementation Co-governance Partnership 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The analysis performed in the paper was based on the published case studies in the book that we co-edited; thus, we wish to thank the authors of these case studies once again for contributing their chapters. Further, we thank Brennan Lowery for his help with language editing and Mel Agapito for helping with the figure. Finally, we are grateful for the three anonymous reviewers for their useful and constructive comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Norwegian College of Fishery ScienceUiT-The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway

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