In 2014, organizations of fishermen and fisherwomen around the world finally saw their knowledge and wellbeing taken into consideration, in the document “Voluntary guidelines for the sustainability of small scale fisheries in the context of food security and the eradication of poverty”. Governments of many countries around the world approved these guidelines in the 2014 meeting of the COFI (FAO´s Fishing committee) in Rome.
Since then, fishers and their organizations around the world have worked to implement the actions described in the document. Costa Rica began with work in the field to strengthen information sharing and implement responsible fishing practices. Local and shared governance is a crucial guideline, and Costa Rica has made it a priority. More recently, they have made this a joint effort that includes civil society and governmental authorities. A legal proposal was presented that would make the implementation of the guidelines no longer voluntary, but rather a requirement. It is, after all, essential for the recognition of human rights of coastal and fishing communities on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides of the country.
The draft of the proposed law would not only reinforce a human rights-based approach to marine conservation, but would consider, as the guidelines suggest, tenure rights, gender equality, marine spatial planning, governance, value chain and climate change considerations.
All of these issues directly and deeply affect the livelihoods and well-being of coastal communities.
The draft of the law is now being presented to the Congress and will be shared with different institutions and organizations for their deliberation and comments. We hope to see it approved and voted into law in the near future.