Fisher Voices on COVID-19
On September 15, 2021, the SSF Hub hosted its first webinar, SSF Hub Presents: Fisher Voices on COVID-19, Session I. Session I focused on stories from communities in Asia, told by fishers and fisher organization representatives, specifically about their experiences and the challenges they are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about Session I and the speakers below.
- Watch the recording of the webinar here.
- Share your thoughts and reactions on the follow up discussion here.
This webinar will be followed up by SSF Hub Presents: Fisher Voices on COVID, Session II on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 9:00 AM ET (webinar link coming soon)
Session I Summary
The webinar began with an introduction from International Collective in Support of Fishworkers officer, Manas Roshan, who gave a global overview of how the pandemic impacted and is continuing to affect the small-scale fisheries sector, as well as how some organizations and governments are responding.
This was followed by a video, compiled by the speakers and their networks, that shared stories from fishers and fish workers from Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. The video shared fishers’ personal experiences with COVID-19 and how it has drastically impacted their lives and livelihoods. Due to changes in supply chains, decreases in fish prices, and the restrictions of lockdowns, many have been unable to meet their daily expenses, support their children, and lack food security. Some fishers have turned to alternative livelihoods, such as selling lumber, flowers, confectionaries, and jewelry to bring in additional income, while others have been forced to take out burdensome loans.
(Video Provided by National Fisheries Solidarity Organization)
The second half of the webinar shifted to a live discussion, where the audience was able to hear directly from fishers and fishing organization representatives. Speakers were asked to comment on the lessons learned from the pandemic and what types of support they would like to receive. Speakers from Thailand and Sri Lanka restated the challenges they are facing in selling their catch, and shared their concerns that they are running out of options and are struggling to provide for themselves, their families, and their communities. In response to the question of what lessons were learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, speakers expressed the need to bring greater global visibility and legitimacy to small-scale fishers, both men and women.
(Video provided by Coastal Action Network and LAW Trust)
The on-going challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as lack of recognition, restricted movement, reduced access to healthcare and education, demonstrate that social-welfare initiatives at the global, region, and community levels are necessary to provide greater income, food, and livelihood security for small-scale fishers now and in the face of future global crises.
(Video provided by International Collective in Support of Fishworkers)
The event was co-moderated by Ujjaini Halim and Adit Setiawan and was interpreted in English, Thai, Bahasa, Sinhala, Tamil, and Bengali.
To learn more about our speakers and the communities and organizations that they represent, please read their bios and browse the following links.
Manas Roshan | International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)
Manas Roshan is a programme officer with the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), based in Chennai, India. ICSF is an international non-governmental organization that works towards the establishment of equitable, gender-just, self-reliant and sustainable fisheries, particularly in the small-scale, artisanal sector.
Mayuree Thammachat | Fisher, Mairoot,Thailand
Mayuree is a small-scale fisher from Mairoot sub-district, Trat Province, Thailand. Her family members are directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. She works with the Sustainable Development Foundation - Thailand (SDF).
- Learn more about SDF: http://www.sdfthai.org/
Erdiansyah | Fauna & Flora International, Indonesia
Erdiansyah is a marine biologist who really cares about marine ecosystems and also fisheries. He is currently working at Fauna & Flora International as a Senior Marine Officer and works very closely with fishermen in a marine conservation area in Simeulue District, Aceh Province, Indonesia. Currently, much attention is paid to the Participatory Market System Development (PMSD) for octopus and grouper products.
- Learn more about Fauna & Flora International: https://www.fauna-flora.org/
Mohammed Hanfia Mubarak | Fisher, Pothuwil, Sri Lanka
Mohammed is a fisherman from Pothuwil, Ampara in the eastern Coast of Sri Lanka, an executive committee member of Sinna Ulla, Fisheries Cooperative Union, and an active member of the District Fisheries Organization-Ampara, the partner organization of the National Fisheries Solidarity Organization (NAFSO). He is also a trade union leader of the National Fish Workers Union and serves as an executive member of the Union.
- Learn more about the NAFSO: https://www.nafso-online.org/
Jones Spartegus | Coastal Action Network, India
Jones Thomas Spartegus is a researcher hailing from Thoothukudi, a coastal town of Tamil Nadu. He is keen on working to ensure rights-based development for the coastal excluded communities who live along the fringes of the coast. He has been part of public actions which are led by coastal communities to protect their ocean and coast for future generations. He has links with several fisher unions, associations and other unorganised workers’ unions along the coastline of Tamil Nadu. He is also an active member of the Coastal Action Network, a campaign working for the protection of coastal ecology and livelihood rights of the coastal communities, in association with the Legal Aid to Women Trust (LAW Trust).
- LAW Trust: http://www.lawtrust.in/
- LAW Trust Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/legalaidtowomentrust
Md. Mujibul Haque Munir | COAST Trust, Bangladesh
Md. Mujibul Haque Munir is the Joint Director of COAST Trust, Bangladesh. He has twelve years of experience working in the development sector, especially in the field of program management, youth empowerment, development communication, campaign and policy advocacy, research, program planning and monitoring, writing reports, publication, communication, stakeholder relation, and project management. He is now in charge of the humanitarian response projects of the COAST Trust. COAST is currently implementing seven projects as part of its Rohingya Response. Mr. Munir is the Co-Chair of the Inland Fisheries Working Group of the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP). He is also one of the Steering Committee Members of the Farmers Forum (FAFO) of the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD) and Member of the Steering Committee of the UN International Year of the Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture.
- Learn more about COAST Trust: www.coastbd.net
Additional videos were provided by the Southern Fisheries Organization Matara: https://www.facebook.com/sfomatara123/?ref=page_internal
SSF Hub Presents: Fisher Voices on COVID, Session II
This webinar will be followed up by SSF Hub Presents: Fisher Voices on COVID, Session II.
Session II will focus on how fishers and their intermediaries (or other value chain actors) have innovated different market solutions to overcome the COVID crisis. Session II will be held on November 16th, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT, in conjunction with the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions’ Annual Meeting. Please visit the SSF Hub event page to learn more information and register for the event.
Share your story
Are you a fisher or fish worker who would like to share your experience from the COVID-19 pandemic? We want to hear your story!
Throughout the fall, the SSF Hub will be posting additional stories and testimonials to its small-scale fishers and COVID-19 video series on YouTube Channel.
If you are interested in recording a video, please read the COVID Video Submission Guidelines.
SSF Hub Presents
“SSF Hub Presents,” will be an on-going webinar series that strives to highlight different stories and aspects of the small-scale fisheries sector. Please continue to check the SSF Hub Events page to stay up to date on upcoming events related to small-scale fisheries.
If you are interested in partnering with the SSF Hub for future presentations, workshops, or webinars, please contact the SSF Hub at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
This article is part of the SSF Highlights series of articles published regularly to the SSF Hub. To view previous Highlights articles, use the links below.
August 2021: Näätämö River Collaborative Management
July 2021: San Pedro Photography Contest: sharing photos and stories.
June 2021: Summary of a recent study on trends in World Bank aid to small-scale fisheries over 50 yearSummary of a recent study on trends in World Bank aid to small-scale fisheries over 50 year
May 2021: Passion forges success: An interview with Ryan Nienaber
April 2021: Fisheries resilience in the Humboldt Current: one step closer to achieving sustainability
March 2021: Hearing and empowering women in a changing world
February 2021: Advancing Adaptive Fisheries Management in Cuba