The ICCA Consortium is launching a new initiative on territories of life and community fisheries in freshwater, coastal and marine systems. Building on our Members’ many years of existing experience, it will support community-centric activities at the local, national, regional and global levels in line with our mission and strategic approach.
Community fisheries and territories of life in freshwater, coastal and marine systems are extraordinarily diverse and thrive in all regions of the world, from the tropics to the Arctic. However, they often face common threats from top-down conservation, industrial fisheries, and other destructive activities, and more broadly from exclusionary policies, laws and decision-making processes that affect them.
Indigenous peoples and local communities who depend upon subsistence and artisanal fishing for their identities, livelihoods, food sovereignty and wellbeing are increasingly seeking appropriate recognition and support for their rights, responsibilities, and practices across these sectors. This is essential not only for these communities, but also for the billions of people around the world who rely on fish and seafood for protein. Community fisheries in territories of life – with deep connections between specific territories or areas, ecosystems and species, cultures, ways of life and governance and stewardship systems – show the rest of the world how to simultaneously care for families, communities and the abundance of life.
Many ICCA Consortium Members and Honorary members have been working on these issues for decades, if not generations. This initiative on community fisheries in territories of life is not ‘new’ in the sense that it includes a strong focus on listening to and learning from this rich existing experience and on peer learning, exchange and support within our membership. At the same time, it is our first funded initiative that focuses on a particular type of livelihood and in particular ecosystems.
We are grateful to the Oak Foundation for providing our first grant for this initiative from 2020-2023. This grant will support local and national level action under the leadership of our Member organisations Costa Humboldt and Observatorio Ciudadano in Chile, Mwambao Coastal Community Network in Tanzania and Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) in Malaysia. It will facilitate regional level exchanges and peer support and advocacy in Latin America, Africa and Asia-Pacific, while also involving our membership from other regions where possible. At the global level, it will enable participation in international policy and law fora that affect community fisheries and territories of life, and will bring together the latest knowledge and research with multimedia communications expertise to influence broader narratives and discourse on fisheries and conservation in freshwater, coastal and marine systems.
To help facilitate peer learning, exchange, and support in this initiative, we have created a new Listserv for our Members and Honorary members working on territories of life and community fisheries. If you are part of our membership and would like to join this group, please contact our Secretariat (see below).
Building on the Oak Foundation grant, we will continue to develop respectful and equitable partnerships to support other aspects of this global initiative, including local and national level activities in additional countries. Please be in touch if you already have relevant activities underway or if you would like to work together on joint proposals to support territories of life and community fisheries in your country or region.
arju (at) iccaconsortium (dot) org
holly (at) iccaconsortium (dot) org
Featured image: Coron Island, Philippines © Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend.