Tenure and management? What is it and how does it help me if I am part of the fishing sector?

We have already talked about the importance of the Voluntary Guidelines to achieve the Sustainability of Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication proposed by FAO in the blog “Challenges to achieve development and well-being in fisheries”. It is now time to present the first guideline: “Responsible governance of tenure and sustainable management of resources.”

But what does it mean to have responsible governance of tenure? Tenure is the right of small-scale fisherwomen and men to secure stable access to fishery resources, as well as other resources for the subsistence of fishing communities.

To achieve responsible governance of tenure, duties are recognized on the part of the State (the government), such as recognizing, respecting and protecting all the rights of fishing, fishing areas and lands to achieve social and economic objectives that favor fishers, women’s groups, and Indigenous peoples who have been active for generations. It also covers their inclusion and participation in decision-making for the management of resources and their areas of use, and in the formulation of public policy for fisheries. However, for many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are still challenges in meeting these targets. For example, tourism, energy and mining sectors share areas with the fishing communities (both on land and in the water), conflicts are often present, and the fishing sector may not consult, affecting the livelihoods of coastal communities.

Another issue addressed by this guideline is the sustainable management of resources. In this, the State and the fishing communities have the responsibility to ensure sustainable resource use. This refers to the fact that fishing activities must ensure the continuity of the activity in the exploited populations, but that they must also minimize damage to the environment and other species. At the same time, co-management systems are promoted to design, implement, monitor and enforce activities where the fishing communities actively participate, for example, with the establishment of formal management tools (in the fisheries regulations) or informal (community agreements). Efforts must also be made to eliminate illegal fishing. All this must be managed collectively, considering the participation of stakeholders across the value chain (especially women and Indigenous people).

Responsible governance of the tenure and sustainable management of resources are essential to guarantee fishing activity as food security and economic activity in the long term. Both the State and the fishing community have obligations and responsibilities to recognize and consider all those involved in decision-making, achieving a mutual, fair and sustainable benefit.

Learn more about this guideline by visiting this video:



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