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A Pan-European Platform for Low Impact Small-Scale Fishers

As a platform of grassroots organizations, LIFE represents the interests of 31 organizations in 15 EU Member States associating around 10,000 small scale fishers across all European sea basins from the Baltic to the Black Sea. We are an association set up and run by small- scale fishers (SSF) committed to :

fishing low impactFishing in a low impact manner
tools fishing tools fishing

Transforming low impact fishing in an attractive and economically viable profession

sustainability fish

Sustaining fish stocks and protecting the marine environment

coastal communitiesContributing to prosperous coastal communities

Members

We represent small scale fishers, both men and women, who are committed to minimising the environmental impact of their fishing activities whilst maximising their socio-economic value. They work on their own vessels and are committed to ensuring the sustainability of their activities by respecting the rules or, where such rules are absent or insufficient, by applying self-imposed measures to protect the fisheries resources and the environment. They maintain a strong social, cultural and economic link with their communities. 

We provide a clear and coherent voice for those small-scale fishers who have historically lacked dedicated and effective representation at European level.

Fisher-illustration004

UCPPM

Cofradía Nuestra Señora de los Reyes

Arts Menors Costa Brava

Ribara malim alatima of HOK

Partners & Donors

Our mission of connecting and empowering fishing communities across Europe could not take place without working closely with a wide range of partners and donors.

Board of Directors

The strategic direction of LIFE is developed and overseen by an elected board of directors of working fishers.

Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.

Executive Secretary, Brian O'Riordan

Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.
Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.

Ger De Ruiter

Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.
Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.

Christian Decugis

Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.
Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.

Gwen Pennarun

Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.

Team

The members of our team are based in several European countries. We are dedicated professionals who combine a high level of expertise with a strong dedication for small-scale fishers and seas. We’re passionate about the work we do.

Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.

Executive Secretary, Brian O'Riordan

Based in Brussels and with hands-on knowledge in the advocacy of small-scale fishers worldwide, he represents the interests of LIFE’s members at the European Institutions level.
A long time commercial fisherman with significant experience of representing fishermen at every level. Based in the UK and responsible for advising on the overall management of the organisation.

Senior Advisor, Jeremy Percy

A long time commercial fisherman with significant experience of representing fishermen at every level. Based in the UK and responsible for advising on the overall management of the organisation.
Communications expert with a business and charities background, she is in charge of LIFE’s media relations, website development, communications and marketing.

Marketing & Communications Officer, Sarah Namann

Communications expert with a business and charities background, she is in charge of LIFE’s media relations, website development, communications and marketing.
Based in Barcelona, with a background in marine biology and practical experience in coordinating small-scale fishers organisations, Marta is in charge of all matters relating to the Med.

Mediterranean Coordinator, Marta Cavallé

Based in Barcelona, with a background in marine biology and practical experience in coordinating small-scale fishers organisations, Marta is in charge of all matters relating to the Med.
A biologist with experience aboard of small-scale fishing vessels, Macarena is based in Southern Spain and in charge of working with communities on the ground.

Project Manager for the Alboran Sea, Macarena Molina

A biologist with experience aboard of small-scale fishing vessels, Macarena is based in Southern Spain and in charge of working with communities on the ground.
With many years of experience in fisheries economics and project development, Iuri is based in Sicily and provides support to small-scale fishers in Italy.

Senior Advisor for Italy, Iuri Peri

With many years of experience in fisheries economics and project development, Iuri is based in Sicily and provides support to small-scale fishers in Italy.
With a background in biodiversity management and human ecology, Alicia works to reinforce small-scale fishers networks and improve governance in Malta.

Expert for Malta, Alicia Said

With a background in biodiversity management and human ecology, Alicia works to reinforce small-scale fishers networks and improve governance in Malta.
Having worked both in commerce and in the management of fisheries projects, Anna is in charge of our Sustainable Fishing Programme in the Balearic Islands.

Project Officer for the Balearic Islands,
Anna Masdeu Lalanza

Having worked both in commerce and in the management of fisheries projects, Anna is in charge of our Sustainable Fishing Programme in the Balearic Islands.

Timeline

  • 2009-2012

    How it all started

    Thanks to a grant from the Oak Foundation provided to the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), small-scale fisher representatives were able to come together and participate in the “Green Paper” consultation process in 2009 and 2010. This process enabled them to have a voice in shaping the 2014 Common Fisheries Policy.

    Later, The Pew Foundation established a coalition of NGOs and fishers’ organisations called Ocean 2012. One of the actions of the coalition was to lobby for fishing rights to be granted to those who fish in the most sustainable way in the reformed CFP. The Oak Foundation funded SSF platform established by ICSF joined this coalition.

    The MedArtNet initiative – the Mediterranean Platform of Artisanal Fishers, which included small-scale fishers from Spain, France, Italy and Greece, was also incorporated into a common small-scale fishers’ (SSF) platform lobbying the Green Paper process.

    Greenpeace launched a campaign in 2011 that brought these initiatives together, calling for the reallocation of fishing rights from larger to smaller scale fishers.

  • 2012-2013

    A response to the reform of the CFP

    The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), Ocean 2012 and  the Mediterranean Platform of Artisanal Fishers (MedArtNet) came together to give rise to LIFE. Greenpeace subsequently supported and facilitated the first (organized in Brussels in 2012) and second (organized in Santiago de Compostella in 2013) European Artisanal Fishermen Congresses. LIFE was launched at the Second Congress in 2013, as a response to the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). During these 2 meetings, LIFE’s vision and mission were defined.

    LIFE then represented 14 members organization in 8 members States (approx. 2.500 fishers).

  • 2014

    Recognition at EU level

    Although launched in 2013, LIFE was registered in the UK in 2014.

    LIFE was now recognized by the European institutions as the voice for small-scale fishers at EU level and became active in 6 of the 10 Advisory Councils.

  • 2015

    Necessary financial support is obtained

    Greenpeace helped LIFE to obtain a start-up grant from the Underwood Foundation. The grant was a co-financing grant for both Greenpeace and LIFE to

    • develop a stronger voice for inshore fishermen across Europe,
    • get representation for small-scale fishermen at a European level in Brussels and
    • support national organisations representing small-scale fishers. 
  • 2016

    Baltic and North Sea programme

    LIFE is awarded one off grant from European Commission under a specific scheme entitled “Support measures for small-scale fishing’ pilot project”, to establish a programme of work in the Baltic and North Sea. The project had the aim to build the capacity of European smaller scale, low impact fishers and their organisations to participate in the decision taking processes that affect their livelihoods. It supported the exchange of information and experience of good practice between SSF to this end.

    LIFE enabled 5 of its members to be elected to Executive Committee of the Baltic Sea Advisory Council.

    In October 2016, LIFE started working in partnership with AKTEA, the European network of women’s organizations in fisheries and aquaculture. 

  • 2017

    Friends of SSF

    LIFE becomes a founder member of the “Friends of Small-scale Fisheries” in the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and Black Sea (GFCM).

  • 2018

    Moving to Brussels

    The European Parliament votes in plenary to ban fishing with high impact electric “pulse trawls” thanks to campaigns by LIFE and its partners.

    At the end of 2018, LIFE faced an existential crisis precipitated by the end of the EC funding, the ending of the Underwood Trust start-up grant, and Brexit. To continue its work LIFE needed to re-register in an EU Member State; to remain financially viable, LIFE needed to close down its UK office and to secure bridging finance.

    LIFE obtained a small grant from the MAVA Foundation to enable it to transition to Brussels from the UK and became a MAVA partner in the 3-year Mediterranean Basin Programme.

  • 2019

    Growing

    The Pech Committee of the  European Parliament highlights inequitable treatment of SSF under discussion on “A  fair deal for SSF in the allocation of  fishing opportunities” thanks to LIFE.

    LIFE now represents 31 members in 15 Member States (approx. 10.000 fishers).

  • 2020-2025

    Fishers of The future

    In 2020, LIFE became a partner of the Marilles Foundation to work in the Balearic Islands over a 3-year period.

    By 2025 LIFE will be a cohesive, well governed and financially stable European umbrella organisation, made up of national and local level organisations dedicated to small-scale low impact fish (SSF) production, including SSF fish producer organizations, with a strong presence in Brussels and at sea basin level, having staff and members spread throughout Europe. LIFE Members will be actors of change, having their say in European policies, with fair access to resources and markets,  engaged in the co-management of their fishing areas, and with their children training as fishers thanks to the development of LIFE’s Fishers of the Future Programme .

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