The 31st session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI 31) adopted the voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication (VGSSF). The guidelines address five thematic areas: governance of tenure in small-scale fisheries and resource management; social development, employment and decent work; value chains, post harvest and trade; gender equality; disaster risks and climate change. Key areas for supporting the implementation of the guidelines are also explored, including: policy coherence, institutional coordination and collaboration; information, research and communication; capacity development.

The FAO dedicated the guidelines to Chandrika Sharma, Executive Secretary of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), who disappeared on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on 8 March 2014, and who fought, in the last six years, for the negotiation and adoption of the guidelines.

The FAO Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, in its report, also supported the work of FAO towards small-scale fisheries, underlining the necessity to enable small-scale operators to access and share information, to organise and to participate meaningfully in decision-making processes and value-chain dynamics for a more equitable distribution of benefits from national, regional and international trade.

Furthermore, the Sub-Committee acknowledged the significance of user and access rights for small-scale fishers and welcomed the planned conference on tenure and user rights in fisheries, which will take place in Cambodia in February 2015.



FAO, ‘Countries recognize vital role of small-scale fishers’, 10 June 2014  

FAO, International guidelines for securing sustainable small scale fisheries, 9–13 June 2014  

FAO Sub-committee on fish trade report   

ICSF webpage on small scale fisheries guidelines