Small-Scale Fisheries Learning Exchange Project


BACKGROUND The project was made possible by the convergence of a number of factors: • The Fisheries Committee (COFI) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has entered into a policy development process to recognize the importance of SSF; • The World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) is holding the meeting of its Coordinating Committee in Canada for the first time in fall of 2012; • The Marine Resource Centre has become the organizing body for Coastal Learning Communities Network (CCLN). MRC Associate staff member Sherry Pictou is also Co-Chair of WFFP, and a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University. • The CLCN completed a successful learning exchange, Deepening North-South Linkages between Coastal Harvesters in Canada and South Africa, with support from IDRC, linking Canadian and South African SSF, laying the groundwork for a wider exchange.

ACTIVITIES Introductory Dinner Meeting This networking event provided an opportunity for Canadan and international SSF representatives to meet rearchers, government officials and First Nations repreentaoves in Halifax in an informal setting. The dinner was hosted and funded by Saint Marys University. Public Forum This event, co-sponsored this event with Saint Marys University, presented a panels made up of Sherry Pictou (First Nations and WFFP), Naseegh Jaffer (WFFP), Gonny Boudreau (Guysborough Inshore Fishermen’s Association), and moderated by Dr. Tony Charles. The theme of the panel discussion was SSF andin ternational policy. Canadian Perspective on the International FAO Guidelines for SSF The first event in the Cornwallis Park location was the workshop on the FAO International Guidelines on Small-Scale Fisheries (IG-SSF). This discussion, chaired by fhseores policy analyst Marc Allain, focused on how Candian SSF can build capacity to influence internationa fisheries policy, with specifc refernce to to Canada’s position on the guidelines.

Workshop The primary component in the learning exchange was a one-day workshop on how to build effective policy participation at national and international levels. The main participants were the Coordinating Committee of the WFFP, with representatives from South Africa, Senegal, Mauretania, Sri Lanka and Spain as well as First National and non- indigenous SSF organization representatives from Canada. The workshop was be held at the Marine Resource Centre at Cornwallis Park on October Visit to the Bear River First Nation The visit was a cultural awareness learning opportunities, focused on Mi’kmaq traditional and current approaches to fisheries, and broader indigenous fisheries issues . This field trip provided an opportunity to discuss approaches to alliance building between native and non-natve SSF groups. It was also an opportnity for the international particpants to gain understanding of indigenous culture and values. Other Field Trips The MRC organized a number of field trips for WFFP Coordinating Committee members in the shellfish and small boat fisheries in in Nova Scotia, as well as a visit to Bear River First Nations and an introduction to Mi’kmaq culture and fisheries traditions. Reflection Follow-Up Conference Call Workshop Following the workshop there a reflection workshop provided an opportunity to reflect on learning from the one-day session, especially as it informs future research activites. Dissemination The results of the workshops were disseminated to members of all participant organizations, including the WFFO, the Federation of Independent Fisheries, the Bay of Fundy Marine Resource Centre, the Digby-Annapolis Clam Diggers Association and the Bear River First Nation.

OUTCOMES These activities, although diverse in terms of format and content, all contributed to the achievement of the goals of the project. Taken together, they served to address to key objectives of the project. 1) Identify key elements of a strategy that will build the capacity of Canadian SSF to participate in fisheries policy work by creating a learning exchange with countries that have SSF organizations with proven capacity to influence policy. This goal was primarily achieved in the one-day workshop, which provided an opportunity for SSF representatives from to share strategies that they have used to build policy capacity at a national level. Canadian SSF representatives learned lessons from the following countries:

  • Senegalese SSF organizations have created a united national organization that has gained participant status at national policy making tables
  • Mauritanian SSF organizations have focused on grassroots organization and building dialogue with decision makers on region and national levels
  • South African SSF have built a strong national umbrella organization with good communications, education and grassroots representation capacity.
  • Spain has build a strong labour-based intertidal harvester organization that is engaged in market development as well as policy advocacy
  • Sri Lanka has used international policies and agreements as a basis for strengthening SSF rights

This objective was also achieved as a result of discussions that took place in the pubic forum and the SSF workshop, as well as through many informal conversations that happened during the field trips and social events. The most specific outcome related to Objective 1) was that indigenous, non-indigenous and intertidal harvesters are now actively collaborating with each other on ways of participating in Canadian fisheries policy development. These working relationships will provide the basis for future collaboration on fisheries policy development in Canada. 2) Identify elements of a strategy that will build capacity of Canadian SSF to more fully participate in international policy development processes This objective was met primarily through the IG-SSF workshop, which identified a number of ways that Canadian SSF organizations can participate in international policy processes. This workshop resulted in a Canadian statement on the FAO IG-SSF, which was informed by the experience from SSF organizations on other countries. As a result of this

  • Canadian SSF organizations participated in FAO COFI meetings in Rome May 2013
  • Canadian SSF organizations have established working links with indigenous and intertidal organizations within Canada

The project was also the subject of a paper, by Sherry Pictou, the project research coordinator, and Associate staff member at the MRC. The paper is available here SSF LE Paper…