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Organizing Artisanal Fishers And Processors From Coastal States Improves Management On The High Seas

A new study by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) finds that the organizing of artisanal fishers and processors from coastal states can enable their participation in Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.

The following was released by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership:

A new study by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), published in Ocean and Coastal Management, finds that the organizing of artisanal fishers and processors from coastal states can enable their participation in Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), and by doing so leads RFMOs to more sustainable, science-based, and equitable fisheries management.

“Fisheries policy and management impact the livelihoods of entire coastal communities,” said Enrique Alonso, global fisheries director at SFP and a principal researcher in the study. “Yet artisanal and small-scale fishers are rarely engaged in decision making. This is especially the case in managing the high seas. As a result, fisheries are typically managed without the interests of artisanal and small-scale producers, even when they are the largest stakeholders.”

The research analyzed the formation of CALAMASUR (Committee for the Sustainable Management of the Jumbo Flying Squid in the South Pacific) and its engagement over the past five years in the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO). The study found that participatory governance schemes, as demonstrated by the efforts implemented by CALAMASUR with the SPRFMO, can result in better informed and more equitable outcomes for artisanal and small-scale fisheries.

CALAMASUR, an alliance formed in 2018, comprises prominent artisanal fishing cooperatives and squid processors from Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. It emerged following a workshop facilitated by SFP, in which participants learned about the SPRFMO and its crucial role in ensuring the sustainability of the jumbo flying squid fishery on the high seas and combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

This fishery, recognized as the largest invertebrate fishery globally, operates within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Chile, Peru, and Ecuador, expanding into international waters along the South Pacific Ocean, where the SPRFMO manages it.

“When the artisanal squid fishers and processors learned about the RFMO process and how to engage, they knew they needed to have a voice and organize if they wanted a fair playing field,” continued Alonso. “This is the first time artisanal fishers and processors have strategically mobilized and engaged at a scale to achieve policy results in a squid RFMO. We hope this can be an example for other communities around the world.”

The study found that CALAMASUR was a critical agent in driving attention to the squid fishery and advancing key improvement areas and priorities for management. Prior to CALAMASUR’s participation, there had been little work by the SPRFMO on squid.

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