Joint Opening Statement at the Technical Consultation on International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries

May 20, 2013 | Statement | 0 Comments |

Statement made by: Zoila Bustamente Cardenas on behalf of the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers (WFF), World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP), International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) and the International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty (IPC).

Made at: Technical Consultation on International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries. Rome, Italy, 20 to 24 May 2013.


My name is Zoila Bustamente Cardenas. I am the President of the Chilean National Confederation of Artisanal Fishermen, an organization that unites 35,000 artisanal fishers, men and women, along the length of Chile’s 4,500 km coast. I speak on behalf of the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers, The World Forum of Fisher People, the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers and the International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty.

We are a platform of small scale food producers who include fishworkers and indigenous people. Our international member based organisations represent fishworkers from over 50 countries, from both North and South and people actively engaged in supporting our communities. Artisanal and small scale fisheries represent the majority fisheries sector, and we provide the most sustainable model of fishery exploitation from a social, economic and environmental perspective. Our engagement with the FAO to develop this international instrument began in 2008 following the Global Conference on Small Scale Fisheries in Bangkok, Thailand. However we have been knocking on the door of the FAO since 1984 when small scale fishers and their supporters were excluded from participating in decision making processes that affected their livelihoods.

We welcome the fact that we can now engage with the FAO in developing this instrument. In fact, over the last two years we have cooperated with the FAO to organise around 30 national and regional level consultations across Africa, Asia, South and North America and Europe. Through these consultations over 2500 people, men and women from small scale fishing communities have had the chance to contribute to this process.

For us, the process of developing these guidelines represents an important milestone by adopting an inclusive approach to small scale fisheries. An approach which places equal emphasis on social development, the human rights of fishing communities and the responsible governance of the fisheries on which their food security, livelihoods, and wellbeing of depends. We welcome the visibility the guidelines give to women and the serious way in which they address gender issues. The guidelines also take the unprecedented step of addressing as a whole the different aspects of small scale fisheries from the perspective of governance, production, trade, labour and quality of life.

The guidelines also take account of the fact that small scale fisheries face a multitude of threats from more powerful interests both from within and outside the fisheries sector. They come at a critical juncture of global transition when we face challenges of an economic, social and environmental nature where small scale fisheries provide the best hope for generating employment, livelihoods and food for the burgeoning world population.

We are committed to working with the FAO and its member states to develop effective Guidelines and to engage wholeheartedly with you in their development and implementation once adopted by COFI next year.



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