SS01. (In)justices in Small-scale fishers' livelihoods facing climate change

Small-scale fishing activity is fundamental to maintaining nutrition, subsistence, identities, and sustainable livelihoods around the world. However, they are amongst the most vulnerable groups to climate change impacts. At the same time, coastal communities face the injustices of mainstream blue growth. This session aims to visualize existing injustice in small-scale fishery systems, due to governance, social and economic factors, including socially blind conservation and climate interventions, lack of inclusivity (including gender and diverse knowledge systems), or the imbalances in the distribution of climate change impacts. We will combine testimonies of fishers confronting climate change with scientific evidence on the barriers and limitation that this collective has, together with the main limitations of current scientific approaches, blue economy discourses and climate interventions. We welcome contributions looking at vulnerability and inequities, the responses of fisheries under climate change impacts, climate interventions and the blue economy, as well as evidence on the role of governance and institutions, including the social and economic formal and informal settings that ultimately can achieve more just fisheries social-ecological systems.

  • Expected proposals format: conventional panel contributions.
  • Keywords: Small-scale fisheries, justice, social-ecological systems, Marine protected areas, governance, maladaptation
  • Related track(s): 9. Blue economies and degrowth/postgrowth
  • Organizers: Ojea, Elena (Univesity of Vigo, Spain); Elías Ilosvay, Xochitl (Univesity of Vigo, Spain); Blanco Cartagena, Andreu (Univesity of Vigo, Spain)

Full description

This proposal is for a special open session that fits in the track 9 (Blue economies and degrowth/postgrowth), but with a special focus on conflicts and injustices in small scale fisheries under climate and blue growth drivers of change. With examples from around the world and expanding from the work developed under the ERC project CLOCK in Mexican, Galician and Japanese artisanal fisheries, this session aims to visualize some of the hidden barriers to small scale fisheries sustainable livelihoods in the context of climate change and the mainstream blue economy discourse. Artisanal fisheries are key social-ecological systems where coastal dependent livelihoods and exploited natural systems coexist and interact, with complexities that involve unjust governance settings, formal and informal rules, social vulnerabilities and conflicts among groups. Such systems are also a rich source of scientific understanding of the social and economic drivers of climate resilience, maladaptation and climate vulnerability. With the aim to recompile empirical and conceptual approaches for different local settings from around the world, this session will connect researchers with the voices of fishers from these regions. Testimonies of fishers facing different levels of climate change impacts and economic barriers, will describe in video pills what choices they have made to confront impacts. This will allow for a critical discussion of the role of research in adaptation and the future of small-scale livelihoods under climate change and blue growth.

The session is proposed as a combination of presentations by researchers with related fishers' testimonies between turns. This way, the session will be dynamic and connected to the reality that fishers face on their day-to-day life. The scientific contributions of this session are expected to help understand the political economy of marine social ecological systems, most of the time hidden or neglected from existing blue growth initiatives and compendiums. Questions such as the role of formal and informal power dynamics, gender discrimination, trust in institutions, social cohesion will heat the debate while contributing to advance in this science. Combinations of testimonies and presentations will be planned to specifically address these key under-studied academic questions. The focus on ocean dependent social ecological systems will help visualize the importance that marine environments and the oceans have for climate resilience, food security and the well-being of millions of people around the world.

  1. Opening: session organizers set the objective and schedule (5')
  2. Presentations in topics (75')
  3. Final wrap-up dialogue (10’) – making small-scale fisheries more just. Two experts in the field. 

The session length will be 90 minutes to fit 6 presentations of 10’ each. This is the proposed schedule, to be revised with the final set of presentations accepted.