Ratana ChuenpagdeeMore than 350 participants from 55 countries made the 3rd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the biggest of its kind. Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, Project Director of the global research collaboration "Too Big To Ignore" headquartered in Canada welcomed participants (click on the picture to see the video).

Mundus maris made a point of supporting the congress by sending our experienced Vice-President, Aliou Sall, who has in-depth knowledge in the small-scale fisheries of his native Senegal, but also all along the West African coast. For years, then as member of the ICSF Team, he has also supported experience exchange with such fishers in other parts of the world. The sheer diversity presented and critically discussed at the congress was worth the trip.

A slightly adapted quote from the conference website captured the mood:

The congress theme, “Transdisiciplinarity and Transformation for the Future of Small-Scale Fisheries,” invites us to think outside of the box about what we can do collectively to enhance understanding, promote the importance of small-scale fisheries, and support their viability and sustainability. Although the days are organised into science, community, policy, field and action, we encourage everyone to think about the following cross-cutting questions as we move through the congress. Share your insights on the questions and ask other cross-cutting questions.

1. What is the major knowledge gap in small-scale fisheries?

2. What are the major challenges facing small-scale fisheries?

3. What kind of change in science, community, markets and policy is required to improve viability of small-scale fishing communities, reduce their vulnerability and to promote SSF sustainability?

4. What actions are required from civil society organizations, research community and policy people in order to implement the SSF Guidelines?

5. How to strengthen the policy-research interface?

How to strengthen the policy-science interface?

How to strengthen the policy-science interface?

How to strengthen the policy-science interface?

The rich conversations providing at least partial responses will also inspire the Small-Scale Fisheries Academy a consortium of professional organisations, university institutes and resource persons will launch shortly in Dakar, on 14 November.

This will be a concrete contribution towards the co-production of knowledge and new insights and thus to the implementation of the SSF Guidelines in West Africa.

Watch this space for more; click here for the congress website with the programme.