Learning Pathways

Recognising the human rights of small-scale fishers

Image of a fisher throwing a net
Theme
Target Group
  • Journalists,
  • Policy makers,
  • Artists,
  • Researchers
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Small-scale fishers, including Indigenous Peoples, women, and children, face unique challenges in having their human rights recognized and protected. The 2022 International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture underscored their contributions to global food security and their knowledge of biodiversity and climate change, while also drawing attention to the increasing threats, discrimination, and marginalization they face, leading to human rights violations. This Learning Pathway explores the extent of recognition and protection of small-scale fishers' rights and examines how various stakeholders can collaborate to promote a healthy environment for all.

Pathway Description

Introduction

As we have seen in the art exhibition Fishers’ Tales and in Learning Pathway on “Ocean and Human Rights”, small-scale fishers, including Indigenous Peoples, gender and the ocean as well as children, face distinctive challenges in having their human rights respected and protected. 2022 was declared the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture and helped to highlight the contributions that small-scale fishers make to global food security, as well as their distinctive knowledge with regard to biodiversity and climate change. The International Year also shone a light on the growing challenges and threats, as well as continued discrimination and marginalisation, that small-scale fishers face, which often lead to a violation of their human rights. 

In this Learning Pathway, you will explore the extent to which the human rights of small-scale fishers, including Indigenous peoples, are recognised and protected, as well as the many challenges and threats they face. You will also understand how different actors across the research community, environmental and human rights community, national and international organization can work in solidarity with small-scale fishers to the benefit of everyone’s human right to a healthy environment.

Theme: international and national human rights, small-scale fisher rights, inclusion, art-based tools in advocacy, food security.

Time required for the completion of the full pathway: 1.5 hours

NOTE that you need not complete the entire learning pathway in one session.

Learning objectives – by the end of this Learning Pathway, you will have an understanding of:

  • the extent to which the human rights of small-scale fishers are recognised and protected in international law;
  • The distinctive threats and challenges to small-scale fishers’ human rights
  • The various roles of diverse actors to contribute to the protection of the human rights of small-scale fishers

This learning pathway has been written by Prof. Elisa Morgera Professor of Global Environmental Law at the University of Strathclyde Law School, Director of the GCRF One Ocean Hub and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change.

 

Pathway Content

Module 1 The international recognition and protection of the human rights of small-scale fishers

The International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022) provided a significant opportunity to raise awareness and advance understanding of the human rights of small-scale fishers, fish workers and their communities. Throughout IYAFA, the One Ocean Hub, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), theUN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and other partners underscored the urgent need and the opportunities to protect SSF’s human rights.

Module 2 The challenges and threats in small-scale fisheries: national case studies

In this module, you will delve into specific case studies that illuminate the various challenges facing small-scale fishers in their counties, and the different threats to, and even violations of, their human rights.

Module 3 Innovative ways to support the protection of small-scale fishers’ human rights

This module focuses on innovative ways to support the protection of small-scale fishers' human rights, highlighting the pivotal role of national and international human rights mechanisms. The module includes insights from webinars organized by the One Ocean Hub in collaboration with the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture. These innovative approaches emphasize meaningful consultation, environmental justice, and the integration of human rights duties with other international commitments, aiming to ensure the protection and empowerment of small-scale fishing communities.

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