top of page
SSF Symposium logo (high res)_dark blue_edited.png
2024 SSF Regional Symposium
"Bright Spots ~ Hope Spots"
Why the regional symposium?

The World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress (WSFC) takes place every four years, and the next one will not take place until 2026. With all that is happening in and around small-scale fisheries in various parts of the world, it is deemed sensible to meet more often in order to share knowledge and information, exchange ideas and perspectives, and strengthen networks and collaborations. The 4th WSFC held in 2022 set a good precedent for this, with the congress being held in five regions of the world, instead of in one location. At that time, this was not done by design, but due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2022 was also declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022), and the five congresses were organized to help celebrate the importance and contribution of small-scale fisheries around the world.


Regional meetings provide a forum to focus on common issues and shared concerns, even though there are some differences and unique features about small-scale fisheries in different locations. They also offer opportunities for strengthening existing networks and exploring new collaborations. Finally, regional meetings allow higher participation of people within the region, in the most cost-effective and climate-friendly way.


The SSF Regional Symposium in 2024 will be the first in the series, organized jointly by TBTI Global and the local partners. The theme for the 2024 SSF Regional Symposium is “Bright Spots ~ Hope Spots.” What’s presented and discussed during the regional symposium will be brought forward for further discussion at the 5WSFC in 2026.


The SSF Regional Symposium for Asia-Pacific will take place on April 9-12 in Shizuoka, Japan, hosted by TBTI Japan. An announcement about the symposium for the other regions will follow in the near future.

Bright Spots  ~ Hope Spots

Small-scale fisheries have captured the interest of researchers and practitioners for decades. The adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) in 2014 and IYAFA 2022 illustrate the heightened attention and recognition of small-scale fisheries in the policy arena. There is no shortage of 'bright spots' in small-scale fisheries, with numerous studies, projects, networks, fishers’ driven and community-based initiatives, and other efforts that contribute to enhancing knowledge and understanding about small-scale fisheries, illustrating their values and contributions, and highlighting the critical role that they play in supporting multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Great work has been done to strengthen small-scale fisheries organizations and build capacity for better governance. Major advances have been made in theories, policies, and practices that promote viable and sustainable small-scale fisheries around the world. The 2024 SSF Regional Symposium is an opportunity to share these 'bright spots' in small-scale fisheries so that they energize and inspire others. Although what works in one place may not work in other contexts, we can take lessons and learn from the shared experiences, and be encouraged to think about what more we can do, and how to do it better.


At the same time, despite all the great efforts, many small-scale fisheries still face several problems and challenges that make them vulnerable. They continue to be economically marginalized and are not able to engage in policy and decision-making. Lack of secure access to resources and markets is compounded by poverty, poor working conditions, and inadequate infrastructure. Some small-scale fishers have been displaced from places where they live and work once major development projects roll in. Numerous cases of injustices have been noted, and more are likely to happen, with the continued agendas for economic growth and development in ocean and coastal areas around the world. None of these should lead to hopelessness.  Quite the contrary, small-scale fisheries and their communities are part of the 'hope spots' for the ocean, given how critical they are to the protection of the health of the ocean. More attention and support need to be provided to strengthen small-scale fisheries, enabling them to contribute to poverty alleviation, food security, cultural identity, conservation, and sustainability, among others. Talking about small-scale fisheries as hope spots recognizes that there are challenges that need to be overcome and that several types of interventions would be required.

Why participate?

The 2024 SSF Regional Symposium is an all-encompassing space to share stories, experiences, and lessons about small-scale fisheries, as well as to discuss and explore options and opportunities for supporting sustainable small-scale fisheries. More work is needed to implement the SSF Guidelines. More support is required to achieve ‘Blue Justice’ for small-scale fisheries. More research and governance capacity needs to be built. The regional symposium enables the conversation to focus on issues that matter for small-scale fisheries in the region and provides a platform to discuss how to coordinate efforts and build regional collaboration. The symposium is not restricted to people located in the region; however, the presentations and discussions are specific to a region. Thus, we welcome fishers, community groups, practitioners, researchers, students, and members of government, non-government, and inter-governmental organizations to participate if their work and interests are related to small-scale fisheries in the region where the symposium is held.


The symposium is organized by a volunteer committee supported by TBTI Global. The symposium host and partners provide in-kind support to help organize the symposium. The registration fee is nominal to cover the basic costs. All participants are expected to pay for their own travel and related expenses.

SSF Regional Symposium for Asia-Pacific 

April 9-12, 2024

Shizuoka City, Japan

SSF Regional Symposium for Europe

July 1-3, 2024

Pervolia, Cyprus


Photos by Antonis Petrou

SSF Regional Symposium for Latin America and the Caribbean

October 1-4, 2024

Mazatlan, Mexico

Peru 3.jpeg
Foto de Santiago Zurbia_Punta Lobos 3_BCS.jpg

Photos by Daniela Bernot and Santiago Zurbia


Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) is a global research network and knowledge mobilization partnership that focuses on addressing issues and concerns affecting viability and sustainability of small-scale fisheries. The overall aims of TBTI are to raise the profile of small-scale fisheries and reduce their marginalization, promote their wellbeing, and improve governance. TBTI argues for a just, inclusive and holistic approach to sustainable development by incorporating issues and concerns facing small-scale fisheries, as expressed by small-scale fisheries communities, centrally in the discussion about sustainability, the future and ways forward.

Too Big To Ignore Partnership (TBTI)

TBTI Global-high res.png

Interested? Have questions? We want to hear from you!

Send us an email at with questions, suggestions, feedback, or just to say hello!

Background photo by Jaehong Jin

bottom of page