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ELI to Draft Model Legal Language in Support of Small-Scale Fisheries

October 2019

(Washington, DC): With half of all fish catches coming from artisanal and household fishing operations, small-scale fisheries (SSFs) are a crucial component of food security and the global economy. The international community has worked to account for these contributions in legal and regulatory frameworks, but most nations’ laws and regulations either fail to promote sustainable fisheries or are overly ambitious and difficult to implement. As an important step toward filling this void, the Environmental Law Institute announced it is developing publicly available, model legal language that governments around the world can use to promote a sustainable fisheries sector. The announcement was made by ELI Ocean Program Director Xiao Recio-Blanco at last week’s Our Ocean 2019 conference in Oslo, Norway.

“Support for vulnerable coastal communities begins by galvanizing community participation in fisheries management through lawmaking that is based on best practices,” explained Recio-Blanco. “Through this project, ELI will identify effective avenues to achieve comprehensive policy reforms of SSFs and develop detailed governance roadmaps for strengthening rule of law in coastal fisheries management around the world.”

With support from the Oak Foundation and in partnership with Parliamentarians for Global Action, ELI will first identify legal tools and approaches that implement policy recommendations set forth in the U.N. Food & Agricultural Organization’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries, specifically:

  • Tenure rights for small-scale fishing;
  • Creation/enforcement of exclusive zones for small-scale fisheries;
  • Participatory management systems and co-management;
  • Effective monitoring/enforcement mechanisms to deter, prevent, and eliminate illegal and/or destructive fishing practices;
  • Introduction of fisheries management regulations as conservation tools, in accordance with co-management frameworks; and
  • Implement spatial management, including marine spatial planning.

The team will then produce a Law and Governance Toolkit for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries for use in implementing institutional, governance, and legal approaches that are supported by both SSF policy research and regulatory practice. With this “toolkit” in hand, parliamentarians and governments around the world will be able to apply best practices in a manner that fits the specific needs of their communities.

For more information, visit: http://eli-ocean.org/fish/small-scale-fisheries-policy-reforms/.

Xiao Recio-Blanco is available for interview.