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Call for input / The Right to Food and Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on the right to food


09 January 2024


Issued by Special Procedures


Food security, Climate change

Symbol Number




Fishing and the fishery sector contribute to the realization of the right to food by providing fish to eat and improving food availability and nutrition. Fisheries also provide an important livelihood by sustaining local economies, offering employment, and generating economic resources from fishing. For fishing communities, their relationship with aquatic life is also central to their cultural and social life.

Over the past 60 years, the total contribution by fisheries to food consumption has grown substantially, averaging an increase of more than 3 per cent annually. As demand for fish increases across the world, supply has increasingly been matched by further overfishing and reliance on industrial fishing methods, which have had devastating environmental impacts, as well as the rise of aquaculture. The world’s oceans, lakes and rivers face serious threats as the impacts of overfishing, destructive fishing and discards are exacerbated by the effects of climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction. Without considerable effort to reverse existing trends, the ability of these aquatic ecosystems to continue to provide healthy quantities of fish will further decline to dangerous levels.

Small-scale fisheries contribute about a half of global fish catches, with 97 per cent of the total employment in small-scale fisheries concentrated in developing countries. However, small-scale fisheries face serious challenges in the fishing sector, which include exclusionary public policies, limited access to fishing permits or to local markets, and competition with large-scale and recreational fisheries. Offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation, pollution from ocean plastics, mining on land, and land dispossession have also posed concerns for small-scale fisheries. Furthermore, even though fishery workers are key to the realization of the right to food and nutrition, and they are essential in the fight against global hunger, they encounter formidable barriers in accessing food and face tremendous human rights violations and labour abuses in an inherently dangerous industry.

Key questions and types of input/comments sought

  1. What are the main human rights challenges facing small-scale fishers and fish workers in your country?
  2. What good practices could be shared from your country that has strengthened the recognition, protection and remedies for small-scale fishers and fish workers?
  3. To what extent small-scale fisheries, coastal communities, and fishery workers have been included in national and international policy processes related to the fisheries sector?
  4. What are the main concerns regarding working conditions in the fisheries supply chain? Which parts of the supply chain are the most dangerous or problematic?

How inputs will be used

Unless expressively specified, inputs will be published on the Special Rapporteur’s webpage.

Inputs Received
Inputs Received








Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR)

UN entities


Trade Unions


Fellesforbundet Norway


International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF): input-1 | input-2

Norway Food Workers Union

Unione Italiana Lavoratori Pesca e Acquacoltura (UILA)

CSOs and others

Aju O. Dr. at University of Huddersfield; Akenroye T. Professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

Al-Haq, et al. Joint Input

Bulkan J. Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, Palmer J. Honorary Research Associate at the University of British Columbia


Ekologi Maritim Indonesia

FIAN Honduras

FIAN Nepal

FIAN Uganda

Greenpeace Southeast Asia

HOMEF and FishNet Alliance


Interamerican Association For Environmental Defense (AIDA)

Kambasu Katsuva Mukura J.

KwaZulu-Natal Subsistence Fisherfolk Forum Fisherman and General secretary at FECOPEILE

Lancaster A., Lecturer in Law & Head of the Environmental Law, Ocean Governance & Climate Justice Unit of the Faculty of Law, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campusfrom the University of the west Indies

Leclercq M. from the Université Laval

Masifundise Development Trust

National Platform for Small Scale Fishworkers

Observatorio de Seguridad Alimentaria: English | Spanish

One Ocean Hub

Sunde J. from One Ocean Hub and University of Cape; Adams C. from fisher leader and Chairman of the Steenberg Cove Primary Fisheries Cooperative

Sustainable Development Foundation

Taxawu Cayar Collective, et al. Joint Input

Volta Grande do Xingu Alliance