The newly elected Coordinating Committee of the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) had their first face -to face meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on 20-27 September. This meeting had representatives from Africa, South Asia, Europe, South East Asia and the America’s.
WFFP has 29-member organisations from 23 countries and represents over 10 million fisher people from all over the world. WFFP supports its members to strengthen their organisational capacities, and it advocates for the rights of fisher people to access and manage fisheries resources, for human rights and for the protection of natural biodiversity. WFFP was established in 1997 in response to the increasing pressure being placed on small-scale fisheries, including habitat destruction, pollution, encroachment on small-scale fishing territories by the large-scale fishing fleets, illegal fishing and overfishing.
At the annual meeting the WFFP Coordinating Committee discussed the multiple crises affecting the lives and livelihood activities of small-scale fisherfolk across the world. They used the space to highlight the numerous challenges compounding fishing communities globally. This was also a moment to politically strategise around threats such as ocean grabbing, marine extractive development, the marginalization of inland fishing communities and the lack of recognition of customary and indigenous rights of local communities.
“The CC meeting was a great a success because were able to collectively be together in the same room after holding many of our meetings virtually. Meeting face-to-face really allowed us to delve deeply and unpack many of the challenges facing small-scale fishing communities on the ground as well as shape our political understanding around the capitalistic drivers that threaten these livelihood activities,” said African continental representative and Masifundise’s Project Coordinator Sibongiseni Gwebani.
The coordinating committee reaffirmed their commitment to the struggle towards food sovereignty and the full realization of the rights and dignity of small-scale fishing communities through the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines).