Too big to ignore, TBTI
“Too big to ignore: Global partnership for small-scale fisheries research” was established in response to the fact that small-scale fisheries around the world were severely neglected, relegated to the secondary priority, shown by inadequate financial, institutional, and scientific support, and an under-representation of the concerns of people working in this sector in policy discussions. Such marginalization has severely undermined their important contribution to food security, poverty alleviation and local economic growth.
Given that the overwhelming majority of the world’s fisheries are small-scale, TBTI focuses a much needed attention on this sector, with three broad goals in mind: (1) to elevate the profile of small-scale fisheries; (2) to provide research evidence that can help small-scale fishers argue against their marginalization in national and international policies; and (3) to develop research to address global food security and sustainability challenges in fisheries policy.
With financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, TBTI began in 2012 with 15 partner organizations and 62 researchers from 27 countries agreeing to work collaboratively towards the partnership goals. Since the official project launch in September 2012, and especially after the 2nd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress (2WSFC), the milestone event organized by TBTI in Merida, Mexico in September 2014, many individual researchers and organizations have joined the network, particularly as ‘cluster members’. Currently, TBTI has 240 members from 57 countries, which makes it likely one of the largest research partnerships focusing on small-scale fisheries in the world.
One of the key highlights of TBTI work is the Information System on Small-Scale Fisheries (ISSF), which we develop as a ‘crowd-sourcing’ information system, with a user-friendly interface and interactive features to collect data about various aspects related to small-scale fisheries. ISSF contains more than 2,000 records, contributed by about 400 people from as many as 140 countries. The site is garnering close to 1,500 page views per month and continues to move closer to the top of Google search results for relevant terms.
Another major deliverable is the book titled Interactive Governance for Small-Scale Fisheries: Global Reflections, edited by Jentoft and Chuenpagdee (2015; Springer Publication MARE Series). This edited book volume contains more than 30 case studies, covering 36 countries and contributed by 70 TBTI members. The book investigates how small-scale fisheries are governed, what challenges they face, and what reforms, transformation and innovations are required to help secure their sustainability. It is a concerted effort because all the case studies employed interactive governance as an analytical lens, thus enabling a laborious comparative analysis and synthesis.
Professor Svein Jentoft and professor Jahn Petter Johnsen from MARA are involved in the project.