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The solution that provides a decent living and a healthy ocean

A problem that affects both people and planet

Since the early beginnings of the European Union with the Treaty of Rome, and through successive Common Fisheries Policies, the aim has been to increase food supplies through increased extraction of fish, and to increase employment in the fisheries sector. These top-down policies have been reinforced by powerful lobbies of industrial fishing and aquaculture, who are driven by short-term profit rather than long-term sustainability.

The consequences for the marine environment and the coastal communities are serious. The environmental damage includes:

Over-exploitation of fishery resources exacerbated by unselective and sea-bed impacting fishing gears

 

Pollution of coastal waters, including from intensive aquaculture plants

 

Massive loss of marine biodiversity and key habitats, weakening the resilience of ocean ecosystems

sustainable fishing

Small-scale low impact fishing could be part of the solution…

… but 90% of the fishing opportunities are allocated to larger scale interests, and quota management favours the concentration of fishing rights in ever fewer hands. This means that small-scale fishers face unfair competition both for access to fish stocks and to markets, where bulk landings from larger scale operations have a depressing effect on prices, making small-scale fishers price-takers. All this is resulting in:

Low-impact fishing losing viability

Lack generational

Loss of jobs

Coastal communities in decline

The solution provided by LIFE

Uniting and empowering small-scale fishers as key environmental and social change agents

By providing strong and effective representation for committed small-scale fishers, and by giving a voice and support to their associations at local, regional and European level, LIFE is being part of the necessary systemic change.

small scale fishers

LIFE works along 5 main lines that together address system change:

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As a representative body for SSF, providing a single, unified and dedicated voice at EU level in policy making and decision-making processes.

As a lobbying body, advocating for fair and sustainable fishing policies with low impact SSF at the centre.

As a support body, building the capacity of SSF and their organisations to enable them to become actors of change on a triple bottom line.

Through our efforts to develop a sustainable and fair food system, initiated in the form of the “Foodnected” project, in collaboration with our partners.

Through our new approach to training that attract, motivate and support younger fishers to take up low impact small-scale fishing profession.

Sustainable Development Goals

LIFE is working with its members and with policy makers to achieve 6 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 

UN-SDG-gender-equality-5
E_SDG-work-growth-8
E_SDG-reduced-inequlities-10
E_SDG responsible consumption production 12
UN SDG life below water 14
UN SDG peace justice institutions 16
small-scale fishers

LIFE’s work aim to ensure:

High Social Impact

Low Environmental Impact

Fair access to resources and fishing grounds

Fisheries are managed in a sustainable and inclusive way, free from privatisation and taking into account economic, social and environmental factors

Fair access to markets

Fishers become empowered “price makers” enabled to negotiate a fair price for their products that reflects their quality and social value 

Participative decision making and improved governance

Small-scale fishers engage as equals with other interested parties to formulate local, national and European fishing policies and management

Sustainable and fair food systems

Direct sales and short value chains are developed, helping local economies to thrive and allowing consumers and fishers to have direct and transparent relationships

Women in fisheries are visible and recognised

The role of women is recognized and their work is fairly rewarded thanks to our partnership with AKTEA

Generational relief

Young people are motivated to be young low impact fishers

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fisher 03 (3)

Low impact fishing techniques

Fishers use the most appropriate methods, minimising impact on fish stocks, biodiversity and the marine environment, and adapting to climate change

Recovering fish stocks

Fish migrate, grow and reproduce, each has an appropriate season to be caught and respected by low impact SSF fishers. They promote management plans and MPA when they are in the heart of decision making process

Fully documented fisheries and TEK is valued

SSF contributes to achieving fully documented fisheries. Traditional ecological knowledge is valued and integrated with marine science into fisheries management. 

Low Footprint

Prevent pollution, encourage decarbonization and optimize resource use so that food production and consumption contribute to respecting the biophysical limits of our planet.

LIFE’s strategy 2021-2025

LIFE was launched in 2012, became operational in 2015 and in 2020 had secured its position as the first European-wide organisation dedicated to providing exclusive representation and support to European small-scale fishers

LIFE’s  Strategic Plan for 2021-25 is based on a theory of change that has been validated through a process of consultation with a wide range of key stakeholders. LIFE’s vision is for European small-scale low-impact fishers to become masters of their future and custodians of the sea. They will be economically independent, contributing to prosperous coastal communities and environmental sustainability of the oceans.

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Annual Report

Available soon.

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