Ratana ChuenpagdeeThe global research network on small-scale fisheries, Too Big To Ignore (TBTI), continues to produce and organise vast bodies of knowledge about SSF around the world. As more case studies become available and the search is on for better understanding of their commonalities and specificities, it has become clear that their study requires transdisciplinary approaches and development of new methods of research and collaboration. TBTI convenes training workshops in all continents for this approach. Aliou Sall of Mundus maris served as trainer in the Africa workshop in Cape Town.

This workshop was the first of a series of training courses of this kind by Too Big To Ignore. Delegates from Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe attended. Participants had professional backgrounds in different disciplines.

The animation of the workshop took place in an interactive mode as follows.

On the first day, following the welcome remarks, the intervention of Svein Jentoft of the University of Tromso, Norway, part of the leadership of the TBTI Network together with Ratana Chuenpagdee of the Memorial Univesity of Newfoundland, St Johns, Canada, left a strong mark on all participants.

Svein focused his talk on the theoretical grounding of Transdisciplinarity (TD) and the question Why do we need TD?

The remainder of this day was spent on the presentation and discussion of case studies prepared in advance by the participants. They portrayed the fisheries of their places of origin, drawing on the transdisciplinary approach.

On the second day, the central themes were "TD for the implementation of SSF Guidelines" and "The 'what' and the 'how' of TD".

Svein Jentoft and Ratana Chuenpagdee respectively introduced the topics and guided the animated discussions.

Later in the day, guest speaker Naseegh Jaffer, leader of the South African national fishermen's organization "Masifundise", reflected on the role of non-state actors in small-scale fisheries governance.

Aliou Sall (middle) at the workshopThe third day we had two interventions, this time both dealing with inland fisheries. These were:

  • Inland small-scale fisheries policy process - by Guest lecturer Mafa Hara, University of Western Cape
  • Inland small-scale fisheries case study - Guest lecturer Qurban Rouhani, Rhodes University 

In the afternoon, a visit of the Ocean View community helped to connect the analytical work with some ground realities.

The last day was dedicated to, among other things, a session dedicated to "TD and Blue Justice". This was co-hosted by Aliou Sall of Mundus maris and Pr Moenieba Isaac of the University of the Western Cape.

A most memorable experience! For more information about Too Big To Ignore, click here.

Text and photos by Aliou Sall.