$2million+ project to transform small scale fishing communities from economic and environmental vulnerability to viability

Monday, June 8, 2020

fishermen standing on long boat

Many of us eat fish, and for those not near water, how that fish arrives on our table is an abstract idea.

Environment researcher Prateep Nayak (SEED), buoyed by a seven-year, $2.5 million research grant is hoping to shine a light on who exactly is doing the majority of fishing and why they been left out of fishery policy debates until now. Joining the project, known as Vulnerability to Viability (V2V), are close to 100 collaborators, co-applicant and partners from every corner of the globe.

Small-scale fisheries (SSF) support over 90 percent of the 120 million people engaged in capture fisheries globally. They also contribute two-thirds of the global fish catch destined for direct human consumption, and provide critical contributions to food security, poverty alleviation, and local and national economies.

“Most small-scale fishery communities are economically and politically marginalized, increasingly vulnerable to climate and environmental change,” says Nayak. “However, they possess certain strengths and forms of resilience upon which to build viable solutions to respond to food insecurity and poverty. Transitioning small-scale fisheries from vulnerability to viability (V2V) is a crucial area and in many ways this unpresented research partnership hopes to co-create knowledge, develop capacity and support governance action to acknowledge the critical role SSF has in sustainable development.”

Joining Nayak, are several researchers from across the Faculty of Environment. Andrea Collins and Derek Armitage from the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, as well as Jeremy Pittman from the School of Planning. Nayak is also joined by fellow SEED researcher Simron Singh. 

The V2V collaboration goes well beyond Waterloo. One goal of the project is to develop transdisciplinary capacity for small-scale fishing communities, governments, NGOs, civil society actors, and the academic community to enable them to co-create and implement innovative responses to move from vulnerability to viability.

“Another main goal of V2V is to develop a database and resource portal of vulnerability to viability case studies and those from elsewhere to compare and synthesize experience between and across study sites,” says Armitage. “From a practical perspective V2V will impact fishing communities through the development of national and regional policy recommendations, program interventions, and governance arrangements that support viable, community-led small-scale fishing initiatives.”

The V2V Partnership will support transdisciplinary training opportunities for 52 graduate students and early career researchers, a unique Fellows Program to support 20 South-South-North collaboration, the development of curricula for training in conjunction with academic and civil society partners, and the development of an open-access information system and global resource portal to provide a powerful tool for SSF research, policy and action.

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