Small-scale fisheries will be the focus of this month’s upcoming global conference: Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries: Bringing together responsible fisheries and social development to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 13-18 October and co-organized by FAO and the Department of Fisheries of Thailand.
It is widely recognised that small-scale fisheries have the potential to significantly contribute to sustainable development, in particular with respect to such key issues as poverty reduction, food and livelihood security, balanced nutrition, wealth creation, foreign exchange earnings and coastal-rural development. The important role of small-scale fisheries in equitable and inclusive development and attaining the millennium development goals (MDGs) has received growing attention in national, regional and international fora by governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, private sector groups and civil society organizations.
There are, however, a number of significant impediments to small-scale fisheries realising their full potential. Small-scale fishers often face precarious and vulnerable living and working conditions because of insecure rights to land and fishery resources, inadequate or absent health and educational services and social safety nets, and exclusion from wider development processes due to weak organizational structures and representation and participation in decision-making.
The Conference will have a broad scope allowing for the discussion of a wide range of issues including, inter alia, wider social and economic development and human rights issues, governance, fisheries policy processes and systems, fisheries management approaches and market access aspects and means of increasing post harvest benefits. A special focus of the conference, however, will be on the issue of securing access and user rights by small-scale fishers, indigenous peoples, and fishing communities to coastal and fishery resources that sustain their livelihoods.