The General Fisheries Council of the Mediterranean (GFCM) is launching a university devoted to small-scale fisheries. The SSF University will offer workshops and training courses to small-scale fishing people and fish workers across the Mediterranean and Black Sea region.
Small-scale fishers represent 84% of the total regional fishing fleet and 60% of total seagoing jobs. Despite the important role of SSF in the region, small-scale fishermen often fail to be engaged in the decision-making processes. The governments of the region recognised the need to promote their access to financial resources, and facilitate education and training opportunities.
To respond to these challenges, the GFCM has teamed up with the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Low Impact Fishers of Europe, the European Network of Women in Fisheries and Aquaculture, Petra Patrimonia, and LOQUS, as well as relevant FAO projects and subregional and country offices, to offer a wide variety of courses such as ecosystem friendly gears, fishing tourism, the legislative basis for SSF governance, starting a fishing association, and more.
‘Small-scale fishers are the first guardians of the sea. At the SSF University, they will exchange best practices with fishers from across the region and they will learn how they can productively engage in decision-making processes,’ said Abdellah Srour, Executive Secretary of the GFCM.
In 2020, fifteen courses are expected to take place in more than eleven countries, targeting representatives of SSF organisations, fishermen and fish workers active in the sector.
The first course of the SSF University was organised in Brussels by the European Network of Women in Fisheries and Aquaculture (AKTEA). It focuses on how to make a difference in the legislative and policymaking processes of European institutions and includes a visit to the European Parliament Fisheries Committee and meetings with European lawmakers.
The SSF University responds to one of the key recommendations of the Regional Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (RPOA-SSF) adopted by 18 Mediterranean and Black Sea countries as well as the European Union in 2018, by promoting capacity development in the small-scale fisheries sector.