Capacity development

Capacity development

Capacity development helps small-scale fishing communities gain, strengthen, and maintain the ability to sustain and develop their livelihoods. Discover ways to enhance the capacity of small-scale fishing communities. 


Stronger Together: Building a Path Toward Sustainable Resources and Viable Communities



The congress theme for the 4WSFC Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC), ‘Stronger Together: Building a Path Toward Sustainable Resources and Viable Communities,’ recognizes that a strong future for small-scale fisheries depends on both sustainable resources and viable communities. There is no easy trade-off between the two, but hard choices will need to be made about all aspects of fisheries. The discussion is not about small-scale fisheries alone but also about large-scale, industrialized fisheries and other uses and activities in the ocean and other aquatic ecosystems. In fact, the difficult decisions that need to be made about the future of fisheries – with due consideration on small-scale fisheries – require inclusive and thoughtful processes, based on trusting relationships and building capacity at all levels. All types of knowledge (scientific and traditional), data and information, local and regional governance, and strong organizations, are among the key elements that can foster productive deliberation about what needs to happen in the region rich with resources and diverse cultural and economic capacity like the LAC. ​

The 4WSFC LAC regional congress is an important opportunity for small-scale fishers, civil society, non-government and governmental organizations, decision-makers, practitioners and researchers working or interested in small-scale fisheries and related topics to come together to discuss what needs to be done to strengthen the existing capacity and networks, as well as building new ones, in order to achieve sustainable resources and viable communities. The discussion is timely as the region, and indeed the world, is struggling to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and dealing with climate change crisis. While the latter has serious consequences on small-scale fishing communities, they have shown to be highly robust and resilient, and thus can offer valuable lessons, not only in coping with change, but also how to be the leader in climate-friendly fishing practices and in a food production system.

Through interactive sessions and discussion, and with an aim to strengthen existing collaboration and build new partnerships, the 4WSFC LAC regional congress will be organized around six main topics, taking into consideration the inter-linkages between environmental, social, cultural, governance, and economic components associated with small-scale fisheries.

We invite participation from fishers and fishing communities, industry, government and intergovernmental organizations, financial institutions, civil society, and academia, interested in small-scale fisheries sustainability and viability in LAC. We encourage delegates from around the continent, as well as some international researchers working in LAC, to join the congress ‘in-person’ in Merida. While we anticipate having about 150 ‘in-person’ participants, we extend an invitation to delegates who wish to join virtually through the congress live-streaming platform.

 The 4WSFC LAC is co-hosted by the CINVESTAV Merida, in partnership with TBTI Global with support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. We welcome organizations interested in supporting sustainable small-scale fisheries to join as partners to this initiative and help contribute to the development of the congress program and to support the participation of delegates from the region.

Abstracts for individual papers or organized sessions (about 250 words) are accepted until March 15, 2022.


Submit Individual Abstract

Submit Session Proposal 

Webinar on SDG indicator 14.7.1: Sustainable fisheries as a percentage of GDP in Small Island Developing States, least developed countries and all countries.



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  1. Fortalecer las capacidades y habilidades de los y las pescadoras artesanales, molusqueros y molusqueras para la defensa de sus derechos.
  2. Impulsar el Modelo de los 12 Remos como instrumento hacia la formalización de los y las pescadoras artesanales, molusqueros y molusqueras en Costa Rica.
  3. Aportar en el posicionamiento de la pesca artesanal desde un enfoque de derechos* en el marco del Año Internacional de la Pesca Artesanal.
  4. Ampliar la visión del manejo sostenible del mar a través del conocimiento de otras experiencias de territorios de vida marinos de pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales en Centroamérica.


Fairer finance for small-scale fisheries: Supporting sustainable fisheries management through improved earnings


Meet the panel

Neel Inamdar – Wilderness Markets
Laura Fernández Cascán – Future of Fish
Esther Ngure – Blue Ventures

The panel discussion will be chaired by Christopher Giordano, Technical Advisor – Fisheries Value Chains & Markets, Blue Ventures.


This event will consist of two parts: a forty five minute panel discussion with live questions to the panel in English, followed by a forty-five minute break out discussion in English, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesia and French (indicate preferred language when registering for the event).

Session objectives

Access to finance and equitable distribution of benefits within seafood value chains has been one key challenge for community-led fisheries management. This second event in the Blue Ventures series of Toko Telo online conversations will explore potential successes and challenges of community-led fisheries management and conservation projects that seek to improve fisher earnings.

The session aims to:

  • Explore financing fisheries management through
    • Value-add processes
    • Fishery Improvement Projects
    • Microlending or other tools
  • Facilitate cross-sectoral learning by discussing examples from fisheries and agriculture that could be relevant for practitioners
  • Discuss tools that exist or could be developed to progress work in this area


Register here


Sharing experiences from the front lines of community-led conservation


Join us for a series of interactive online conversations, called Toko telo: Sharing experiences to foster better community-led conservation.

The events each include a facilitated conversation with an international panel in English, followed by interactive workshops.

We are excited to announce a series of Toko Telo online conversations exploring the successes and challenges of community-led fisheries management and conservation.

We are looking for participants and contributors to the series so please contact us if you have relevant experience to share.


Meet the panel

Zo Andriamahenina, Blue Ventures, Madagascar

Rahma Kivugao, Mikoko Pamoja, Kenya

Laura Michie, Mangrove Action Project, UK

The panel discussion will be chaired by Cicelin Rakotomahazo, Blue Forests Coordinator, Blue Ventures, Madagascar


This event will consist of two parts: a forty five minute facilitated conversation with live questions to the panel in English, followed by a forty-five minute break out discussion in English, Bahasa Indonesia and French (indicate preferred language when registering for the event).

Session objectives

Based on the case studies presented by the panel and the experiences of participants, the event aims to:

  • Share learning and challenges from locally led mangrove management
  • This companion event to the inaugural Toko telo conversation in 2020 focuses on learning about community-led mangrove management to improve practice and help to increase the uptake of this approach 
  • Begin drawing up a set of best practice principles for community-led mangrove management to benefit people and nature

Register here

This two-part series highlighted the voices of fishers: Part I focused on their experiences and responses to the pandemic and Part II focused on how fishers and their intermediaries (or other value chain actors) have innovated to overcome the COVID crisis. These virtual events replicated some of the features of an in-person fisher exchange and provided a space for fishers and fish workers to share their stories about the challenges brought on by COVID and how they have overcome them. The objective was to engage in a conversation where fishers can inspire each other and commiserate, too — to get through the tough times together and to share potential solutions that could speed the recovery.

In addition to Part I & Part II, the SSF Hub will be accepting and posting videos from the greater SSF Hub community on its Youtube channel. This will allow more small-scale fisheries actors to share their experiences with COVID and continue the dialogue following the event. 

Event screenshot


Watch the recording here

Please share your thoughts and reactions to the webinar on the discussion page here


Session II: Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

Session II was focused on how fishers, intermediaries and their partners innovated (or are innovating) to overcome the COVID crisis and support fishing communities throughout the pandemic and the ways in which fishers or fish workers have needed to adapt how they market and sell their catch due to the situation.


Hoyt Peckham, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) & Cristina Pita, International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED)


Ben Martens - Executive Director of Maine Coast Fishermen's Association (MCFA)
Tracy Sylvester - Fisher and Fishmonger, Wooden Island Wild 
Don German - Fishers Roundtable 
Martiza - Asociación de Pescadores de La Rosita, Cuero y Salado (APROCUS Fishing Association)
Paula Leiva - Mi Caleta
Reńe Jara - Fisher, Duao, Chile 




Event screenshot

Session I: September 15, 2021

Session I was held in September and focused on stories from communities told by fishers, specifically about their experiences and how they have responded to the pandemic. During this webinar, fishers and fisher organizations shared challenges they encountered and advice that they have for others that may still be grappling with the hardships brought on by COVID.

Watch the recording here

Watch speaker videos here

The IUCN Congress will be held in Marseille from 3 to 11 September 2021.

Taking into account the current health situation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has decided to organise a “hybrid” IUCN World Conservation Congress, thus allowing people not able to physically attend the event to follow and participate in some parts of the Congress remotely.

The French government reaffirms that it is very pleased to host this IUCN Congress on its territory, while doing its utmost to ensure that this is done under the conditions desired by IUCN and in accordance with the health protocols in force at the time of the event. 


Information on Congress preparations
Register Here 


International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 Global Action Plan

The IYAFA 2022 Global Action Plan (IYAFA GAP) aims at building global momentum to empower small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture and securing a sustainable future for these important sectors. Outlined here are a series of indicative and interconnected actions that are mutually reinforcing in the pillars of work.

Barbuda Blue Halo Enforecement Blueprint

The Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative (BBHI) aims to develop sustainable ocean policy and local management capacity for the enforcement of fishery regulations within the Codrington Lagoon National Park (CLNP) and throughout Barbuda’s near shore jurisdictional waters (3NM). The BBHI represents a collaborative effort among the Barbuda Council, the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, and the Waitt Institute.

Energising local economies: experiences of solar start-ups in Kenya's small-scale fishing and agriculture sectors

How are enterprises and NGOs in rural Kenya addressing poor people’s needs for energy that helps them earn a living? This paper looks at what new solar start-ups are doing to promote productive energy use in the fishing, agriculture and service sectors. It asks what specific productive energy needs the projects are targeting — such as cold storage for fish caught in Lake Victoria — and how they address the various barriers that prevent communities from fulfilling those needs. The six case studies include microgrids, irrigation pumps and multi-service energy hubs.

FishCounts: increasing the visibility of small-scale fisheries in Cambodia's national planning

This report explores the current state of Cambodia’s fisheries and the data that would be needed to develop such a set of accounts. It considers the country’s existing statistical information and monitoring efforts, and where the gaps, inconsistencies and overlaps lie. It proposes a phased approach to build on what already exists to create greater visibility for the contribution of small-scale fisheries to the national economy and their role in developing sustainable fishing and aquaculture in the face of growing demands and climate change.

Blue finance guidance notes - Insurance for small-scale fisheries

This brochure describes why insurance is important for the sustainable development and management of small-scale fisheries. It discusses the benefits and challenges of insurance, as well as options for insurance provision to small-scale fishers and what insurance for small-scale fisheries looks like.

Protocolo de monitoreo para reservas marinas

El presente protocolo se realizó con la inspiración de diferentes protocolos que se emplean en los tres ecosistemas prioritarios donde COBI trabaja. El objetivo principal es fortalecer las capacidades de los socios comunitarios, personal de áreas naturales protegidas, investigadores, estudiantes, y voluntarios en general, los cuales podrán conocer y aprender las diferentes técnicas de monitoreo, especies que se censan en estos ecosistemas prioritarios y así lograr una colecta de datos estandarizada a nivel nacional.

Guía práctica para la elaboración de proyectos comunitarios

El diseño de la guía práctica para la elaboración de proyectos tiene como objetivo el fortalecimiento de capacidades de las comunidades pesqueras. Esta herramienta propicia la autogestión de proyectos de conservación y pesca sostenible. A su vez se busca fomentar la corresponsabilidad en el manejo y gestión de recursos económicos en las comunidades para que éstos sean dirigidos a la resiliencia y la sostenibilidad, así como a la transferencia del conocimiento.

Post-harvest losses in small-scale fisheries: Case studies in five sub-Saharan African countries

This regional programme began in October 2006 and lasted 18 months. It aimed to build on past initiatives and develop tools for practical loss assessment in artisanal fisheries. The programme provided capacity building for fishery officers in qualitative and quantitative fish loss assessments methods, planned support, and supervised the implementation of loss assessment studies in five sub-Saharan African countries (Ghana, Kenya, Mali, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda).

Women's economic empowerment in fisheries - In the blue economy of the Pacific Rim

This report provides a baseline analysis of women’s economic empowerment in the fisheries sector in the blue economy of the Indian Ocean rim region. The report focuses on the 22 Member States of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and includes both marine and inland fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

Fish handling, quality and processing: training and community trainers manual

This manual has been produced to help introduce better practices that can help people make more from the fish they catch, process and sell, as well as help them reduce post-harvest losses.

Marine tenure and small-scale fisheries - A priority for development programming

The following information brief provides an overview on the topic of marine tenure in securing sustainable small-scale fisheries and its role in meeting global development objectives.

Taking stock of the Voluntary Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries — Development and testing of a country-level assessment tool

The SSF Guidelines detail a rich, multisectoral compilation of good practices for a wide range of stakeholders to be aware of and to adopt to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries for food security and poverty eradication. As such the Tool is designed to raise awareness of these good practices and to support a country-level assessment of status of implementation to inform programming and project design.

Unveiling women's roles and inclusion in Mexican small-scale fisheries (SSF)

The contributions of women to fisheries are often invisible, ignored, and unrecognized even though they represent 47% of the global fisheries workforce, especially in pre- and post-production activities. Poor data systems lead to incorrect assumptions about the gender division of labor in fisheries. This causes the role of women in fisheries to be overlooked. To evaluate the contribution of women in the value chain, a participatory methodology was implemented in three small-scale, fisheries in Mexico: California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) fishery from the northern Mexican Pacific, penshell (Atrina maura) fishery from the Gulf of California, and Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery from the Mesoamerican Reef region.

Manual para implementar el Programa de Liderazgo Comunitario

Este manual sistematiza las fases del programa de liderazgo comunitario a lo largo de dos generaciones (2013-2019). El tejido social y la preservación del medio ambiente son factores indivisibles si se quiere trabajar en aras de la sostenibilidad. De este modo, quienes lideran han vivido momentos clave de crecimiento personal, que se han plasmado en el desarrollo de iniciativas comunitarias basadas en el bien común, la inclusión, la diversidad y la igualdad de género

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