During the World Oceans Week (WOW), Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) invited groups, organizations or networks that represent or work with small-scale fishing communities to organize a session during the ‘Small-Scale Fisheries Open House’. They welcomed sessions that covered various small-scale fisheries topics in a country, countries, or in a region, all situated within the broad context of ‘Life and livelihoods’, the official theme of the 2021 WOW. The idea behind the event was not only to illustrate and discuss the current issues in small-scale fisheries around the world but to use the event as a springboard to help shape the upcoming International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) in 2022, as well as the 4th World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress (4WSFC) which will be held in the same year.
More than 40 sessions were organized with the support of over 70 organizations, featuring about 250 session participants from more than 40 countries. The sessions were organized around five main themes, one for each day of the event. The themes included: 1) Wellbeing and food security; 2) Gender & dignity; 3) Change & resilience; 4) Justice & equity; and 5) Capacity & prospects.
All sessions were live-streamed and offered free of charge, allowing anyone with an interest in small-scale fisheries to actively participate and join the discussion. To accommodate time zone differences, the sessions were held around the clock, starting in the morning with sessions focusing on Asia-Pacific and ending in the evening with sessions from Latin America and the Caribbean. All events have been recorded and 2 posted to TBTI YouTube channel, freely accessible for anyone interested in the topic.
IPNLF participated on day 5 of the SSF Open House, 8 June 2021, with the session "Reimagine Tuna: Leaving No One Behind". Our pre-recorded session, including short films and presentations from highly respected experts bringing experience from different backgrounds, launched the new Reimagine Tuna Initiative.
Reimagine Tuna, a collaboration among organisations who share a common goal - finding ocean solutions that benefit people, nature and the economy - provides opportunities to rebuild better so that tuna fisheries can be part of the solution rather than undermining sustainable development as envisioned under the SDGs and their targets. The Reimagine Tuna initiative focuses on 5 key pillars and offers solutions on how we can improve our impacts on society and the environment. Our purchasing decisions can drive change and this is the key message that Reimagine Tuna aims to deliver, acting as a blueprint for all responsible small-scale fisheries, not only tuna fisheries, to gain the recognition they deserve for the role they can play in feeding the world in balance with nature.
The Five Pillars of Reimagine Tuna
- Plastic Pollution
- Human Rights
- Harmful Fishing Subsidies
The Reimagine Tuna initiative will be a long-running campaign, forming a coalition of like-minded organisations who want to see more radical change to the tuna fishing sector. We want to focus on solutions rather than problems as we step away from profit-driven industrial fisheries - towards environmentally and socially responsible fisheries that put coastal communities and environmental sustainability first. We do however also have to be realistic in what can be achieved. Small-scale fisheries might not be able to feed the world. Reimagine Tuna is also focused on making industrial tuna fisheries more accountable and responsible.
Our vision of post-Covid tuna fisheries are fisheries which help to protect and restore threatened and endangered species, habitats and ecological functions, while safeguarding the livelihoods they support. Fisheries that do not benefit from capacity enhancing subsidies such as vessel construction and fuel subsidies. Fisheries that are not engaged in overfishing, IUU fishing or use destructive fishing gears. Fisheries that respect and protect the human rights of our tuna fishers and finally, fisheries that promotes sustainable development where no one is left behind.