Indigenous People, Stories, and Local Community-led Fisheries Management

Indigenous people and local communities have lived with and developed relationships with other species/beings (e.g. water, fishes), in some cases, for thousands of years. During this time, lessons were learned, stories were told, songs were sung, norms developed that shaped how these people used, respected, and cared for these other beings.

This session elevates the contribution of Indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs) in global fisheries as users, managers and leaders in defining and driving conservation and sustainable fisheries management.

Indigenous people and local communities comprise most fishers globally by numbers, often participating in mixed activities for nutrition and livelihood. In doing so, they also act as resource managers and stewards through formal and informal rules. Integrating the vision and existing governance of these fishery actors, through community-based and co-management approaches, is challenging yet necessary.

A global range of presentations are invited to highlight the diverse roles and contributions of IPLCs in fisheries and explore pathways increasing their critical contribution to fish conservation and fisheries management. Topics that explore how indigenous knowledge can be incorporated into relationship/management plans to build social-ecological resilience and adaptation to a changing environment are highly encouraged.


Blue Economy and Its Impacts on Small-Scale Fisheries: Moving Towards Just and Equitable Ocean Use and Protection 

A critical challenge facing our growing human population on this primarily ocean-covered planet is how to equitably and justly manage, use, and protect marine resources across local, national, regional, and global scales. The concept of a “blue economy” has been gaining momentum and financial resources in global and national forums over the last decade; however, its conception, definition, and implementation have been dangerously incomplete and myopic to date. The efforts currently undertaken in the name of Blue Economy typically ignore both the life cycles of marine species as well as the human beings whose way of life is most closely connected to the ocean, such as small-scale and artisanal fishing communities. This roundtable discussion will explore how we can ensure that a holistic view is used to implement ocean activities rather than an exclusively economic view so that the most vulnerable groups of marine resource users are not harmed.

Given that the 8th World Fisheries Congress highlighted “securing sustainable small-scale fisheries and equitable access to resources” as a key issue in the proceedings, this session aims to advance the conversation through a robust and well-rounded discussion of developing justice-focused ocean use, management, and protection processes from the small-scale fisheries perspective. This sector is also a prime segment to consider for guaranteeing human rights, workforce safety and gender equality, which were also key issues that the 8th World Fisheries Congress highlighted as requiring attention.

The session will bring together diverse speakers from the legal, policy, scientific, and small-scale fishing sector perspectives to share experiences relating to the impacts of blue economy efforts from different geographies and sociopolitical contexts. They will set the stage for an open dialogue among all participants regarding key issues that small-scale fisheries face at the intersection of food, water, energy, tourism and conservation issues, and highlight how a justice-minded lens and a human rights based approach can help improve policy, science, and livelihoods. The session aims to draw out both commonalities and differences among the examples, and to generate a forward-looking conversation that advances our thinking about the potential solution-space to achieve a more just and equitable future over the near-term that more successfully incorporates fisher and community participation and empowers their voices across regional and international platforms.


Melissa Garren, ELAW, [email protected]

Status of Fish and Fisheries in the Himalayan Region

Over 1.3 billion people depend on water and the associated aquatic  resources in the Himalayan region. The ecosystems  of the “third pole” and the animals inhabiting them are threatened with human activities and rapid global change. A wide deficiency of knowledge on the fish and aquatic life in these water bodies has hindered efforts for protection, as well as slowed the progress toward mitigating the impacts to rivers, lakes, and wetlands in the region. This session will serve as a platform for researchers, policy-makers and resource managers to present findings, opinions, approaches and visions for relevant work in the region. Ultimately, we expect a synthesis of the available knowledge among the presenters, who can benefit from each other’s expertise towards reaching the common overarching goals.


Vaskar Nepal, Western Illinois University, [email protected]
Mary Fabrizio, William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Julie Claussen, Fisheries Conservation Foundation
David Philipp, Fisheries Conservation Foundation
Troy Tuckey, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Hemanta Dhakal, Prithvi Narayan Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kaski
Rahul Ranjan, Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur, Chitwan

Solving Sustainability Challenges at the Aquatic Food-Climate-Biodiversity Nexus

This section provides a platform for an international and interdisciplinary panel to discuss the development of marine and aquatic food-climate-biodiversity solutions that explicitly consider their complex social and ecological contexts. The panel will highlight case studies in Canada, China, Costa Rica, Nigeria/Ghana and the Netherlands to elucidate different potential pathways towards achieving food security, climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation goals. These pathways include Indigenous reconciliation (Canada), aquaculture (China), land-sea interactions (Costa Rica), eliminating IUU fishing (Nigeria/Ghana) and circular economic (the Netherlands). These case studies will also illuminate the diverse social, economic, political, cultural and ecological contexts of food-climate-biodiversity challenges and the commonality and differences in their solutions. Panelists from Canada, China, and Costa Rica will discuss how their experiences and knowledge can be integrated to generate the knowledge needed to develop viable pathways to solve nexus challenges, and transfer this knowledge to inform policy-making.


William Cheung, The University of British Columbia, [email protected]

Mobilizing a Basic Income in the Fisheries

Fisheries are crucial to the social and economic well-being of coastal regions and Indigenous communities across North America and globally. However, those who work in the sector, which includes small-scale and subsistence fisheries as well as fish processing, face intensifying social and ecological pressures. This panel session will consider how a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) may enhance socio-economic sustainability in the fisheries sector. A BIG is an unconditional cash transfer from governments to individuals to enable everyone to meet their basic needs, participate in society, and live with dignity – regardless of work status. This panel will feature scholars and practitioners offering their insights on the potential role, including opportunities and points of tension, of a BIG within their geographies and areas of specialization within fisheries.


Kristen Lowitt, Queen’s University, [email protected]

Market-Based Tools for a Global Sustainable Seafood Future: Solutions for Addressing Equity, Inclusion and Transferability

This session will discuss the transferability of tools in the sustainable seafood movement, examining the challenges, successes, lessons learned and unsolved problems of implementers. Experts will discuss how systems designed in developed Western nations may challenge implementation in developing countries, non-Western geographies, or outside industrial fisheries. The goals will be to consider how issues that impact inclusion – language, culture, religion, nationalism, corruption, gender, literacy, voice and others, have challenged implementation across diverse systems. Do certain tools face enthusiasm versus resistance and why? How can we consolidate knowledge to make efficient use of resources, more accurately foresee challenges and precipitate wins in the field? This panel and the subsequent discussion will be designed to be an honest, forthright – and we hope also humorous – look at the hard work of designers and implementers who have problem-solved successfully, or continue to innovate, to embrace the diverse realities of sustainable seafood.

Managing Fisheries in a World of Shifting Stocks: Integrating Biological, Policy, Behavioural, Social and Economic Aspects

This session will convene discussions on current advances in fisheries management adaptation in response to changes in distribution and productivity of fish stocks due to climate change. These changes are wreaking havoc in established regulations, scientific advice and fishing dynamics, particularly for stocks moving across jurisdictional boundaries and/or fisheries with different sectors or communities competing for access. We invite proposals for talks on case studies as well as broader themes, focusing on governance, policy, human wellbeing, knowledge creation, modelling and data acquisition challenges across a range of regions and/or examples, focusing on problems as well as solutions. Abstracts for contributed talks that bring together perspectives based on multiple disciplines will be prioritised. The session will include a multidisciplinary group of invited panellists to kick off the event, followed by contributed talks, and will conclude with an interactive Roundtable discussion, with the aim of identifying key themes leading to a perspective paper.


Catherine Longo, Marine Stewardship Council, [email protected]
Olaf Jensen, UW Madison
Kanae Tokunaga, Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Tarub Bahri, Food and Agriculture Organisation
Jacqueline Vogel, Environmental Defense Fund
Juliano Palacios Abrantes, University of British Columbia

Enhancing Coastal and Ocean Observing Networks for Ecosystem and Fisheries Monitoring and Prediction

Integrated multidisciplinary ocean observations are a key contributor to understanding ocean processes, variability and changes which have profound implications to support robust climate- and ocean-related forecasts, predictions, and projections to guide fisheries management, aquaculture development and adaptation strategies that reduce risk and increase coastal resilience. The session will cover topics (but not limited) on the power of integrated coastal ocean observing long-term time series data that provide knowledge of the past, present state of the oceans, including fish and other living resources, and are useful for predicting future changes. This session will also highlight the key gaps and future needs of coastal observations, full data lifecycle from data procurement , processing, product development and communication to effectively monitor and manage marine ecosystems and fisheries in a changing climate.


Hassan Moustahfid, NOAA, [email protected]
Clarissa Anderson, SCCOOS and Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Henry Ruhl, CenCOOS and MBARI
Jake Kritzer, NERACOOS
Jan Newton, University of Washington, NANOOS
Sheyna Wisdom, Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS)

Defining “Destructive Fishing” and Options to Support a Fair Transition to Low-impact Methods

The term “destructive fishing” is widely used across policy, media and academic sectors but with no agreed definition or associated indicators, progress towards sustainable fisheries management and reducing biodiveristy loss is impeded. This panel session will discuss work undertaken to develop an expert-driven definition of “destructive fishing” and associated indicators so that progress against international and national policy frameworks can be measured (e.g. SDGs). In particular, we aim to highlight the need to transition away from the most destructive fishing practices in terms of biodiversity and discuss how a fair transition could be supported. This will be demonstrated through several case studies performed to assess the economic, social, and environmental impact of a transition to lower-impact gears. Audience members will be invited to comment on the work conducted to date and discuss possible barriers and opportunities to support a global transition away from destructive fishing practices.


Hannah Richardson, Fauna and Flora International, [email protected]

Climate Change Impacts on Inland Fish and Fisheries

Freshwater and diadromous fishes are mired in an extinction crisis, and the irreversible loss of biodiversity has consequences for human food security and economic opportunity due to declining inland fisheries harvest. Climate change will exacerbate the myriad stresses upon inland fish and fisheries via a host of pathways. For example, rising mean water temperature directly impacts fish growth and survival rates and the timing of sexual maturation, wind speed and water temperature interact to structure mixing dynamics and nutrient availability in lentic systems with consequence to fish growth and fisheries yield, and more frequent and extreme episodic flood and drought events will impact fish recruitment dynamics and investment / operation of water regulation infrastructure. In this session, we will bring together climatologists, limnologists, and global finance experts with fish physiologists and ecologists and fisheries experts, to explore how climate change impacts to inland fish and fisheries will likely manifest.


Michael Cooperman, PlusFish Philanthropy, [email protected]