Launched in 2020, the SSF Forum is a space where small-scale fishers from across the Mediterranean and the Black Sea come together to share knowledge, exchange best practices, and build their capacities to deal with the many common challenges they face both at sea and in a broader context.
Key themes to be addressed during the training and educational workshops this year include the importance of data collection in fishery decision-making, and how small-scale fishers can increase their involvement with it and participate more fully in management planning. Innovation in value chains is also in the spotlight – specifically, where it offers openings for fishers to add value to their products without having to increase the quantity of fish they land. Diversification can also create new revenue streams for fishing communities, and there will be a workshop on fishing tourism and other ways through which fishers can supplement the income they receive from their catches.
Along with sessions on promoting the next generation of fishers and updates on GFCM research programmes for the management of important commercial species such as rapa whelk and European eel, the SSF Forum aims to celebrate the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Last year’s programme comprised 12 online workshops that attracted more than 240 participants, of whom more than 90 percent found the sessions “very useful” and said they were likely to apply what they learned to their work. Activities planned for 2022 build on this success, with the added possibility of face-to-face exchange events taking place later in the year subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
The small-scale fishing sector is anything but a small part of the region’s fishing industry. Its 70,300 vessels make up 84 percent of the total fleet, and the 150,000 jobs these provide represent 60 percent of all onboard roles. In countless communities across the Mediterranean and Black Sea the small-scale sector plays a vital socio-economic role.
That’s why it’s so important to develop the capacity of small-scale fishers and fish workers to operate more effectively and sustainably, and to enable their participation in management and decision-making processes that affect their livelihoods. With these aims in mind, the SSF Forum plays a key role in the GFCM’s efforts to empower the region’s small-scale sector.
You can find out more about the SSF Forum by clicking here