Around the world, small-scale fisheries are the dominating sector in terms of number of people involved and contribution to local food security and sustainable livelihoods. Yet, information and knowledge about small-scale fisheries is still incomplete, making it difficult for the sector to realize its potentials. With the current concern about overexploitation and unsustainable development of fisheries and marine resources, and about the overall health of the aquatic ecosystems, greater attention is required to enhance our understanding about small-scale fisheries, where solutions to some of the problems may be found. It is also imperative that policies and management decisions are made to promote the viability of this important sector and to reduce their vulnerability. From the research perspective, this means thinking innovatively about how best to draw on multiple academic disciplines, as well as the knowledge of fisheries people and practitioners, in the examination of issues and in the articulation of both the problems and the solutions. Drawing from the experiences of the global network Too Big To Ignore, this presentation highlights key challenges associated with small-scale fisheries research and governance and offers suggestions about ways forward.
Ratana Chuenpagdee is Professor at Department of Geography, Memorial University, Canada. From 2006-2016, she served as the Canada Research Chair on Natural Resources Sustainability and Community Development. As an interdisciplinary scientist interested in resource governance, she has conducted research in many countries, including Cambodia, Canada, Malawi, Mexico, Spain and Thailand. Ratana is currently leading a global research partnership, Too Big To Ignore, which aims at elevating the profile of small-scale fisheries and rectifying their marginalization in national and international policies. As part of this project, she’s coordinating research and activities to enhance understanding about small-scale fisheries, to improve governance, and to support the implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines around the world. Together with colleagues, Ratana has several publications on small-scale fisheries, including the two recent editorial volumes Interactive Governance for Small-Scale Fisheries: Global Reflections (2015) and The Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines: Global Implementation (2017).