4WSFC Europe

September 12 - 14, 2022



Imagine the (Un)Imaginable

Revitalizing Small-Scale Fisheries in Europe

Under the theme ‘Imagine the (Un)Imaginable’, the congress provides a platform for an open and forward-looking discussion about the options and opportunities for small-scale fisheries in Europe, including those that may seem unlikely or inconceivable. With many things working for and against small-scale fisheries in Europe nowadays, the latter includes, among others, declining fish stocks, competition for resource and markets, and the ageing population of fishers, it is imperative to foster an environment of cooperation among various stakeholder that enables envisioning prospective future for this vital sector. Building on the knowledge and experience about factors and conditions for viable small-scale fisheries in Europe, the congress offers an exceptional opportunity to co-create vison(s) of what small-scale fisheries in Europe could look like, share and exchange ideas about what it will take to get there, and discuss actions and priorities in national and regional governance that could lead to sustainable future for small-scale fisheries in Europe.


By facilitating knowledge exchange, strengthening collaboration among small-scale fisheries networks and organizations, and mobilizing support for the viability and sustainability of small-scale fisheries, the congress will also promote the development of strategies in support of the implementation of the SSF Guidelines and the incorporation of small-scale fisheries in SDGs. 

The congress will be organized around six main topics:


Imagine Blue Justice

Imagine Gender Equity

Imagine Good Subsidies

Imagine Low-Impact Fishing

Imagine SSF-centric Governance

Imagine SSF in all SDGs

Contributions are invited from fishers and fishing communities, industry, government and intergovernmental organizations, civil society, and academia, interested in small-scale fisheries sustainability in Europe. Within and across the six themes, we welcome participants who are keen to share their experiences and lessons learned, who want to talk about what is already being done right and/or have ideas about prospects for what can be done better moving forward.


​​The 4WSFC Europe is co-hosted by the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights of Malta in partnership with TBTI Global and other key organizations.

Abstract submission for the  4WSFC Europe has been closed. If you have submitted an abstract but have not received a confirmation of submission, please contact 4wsfcongress@gmail.com.


For those who are planning to join in-person, we encourage you to book your accommodations early as the congress takes place during a busy tourist season. The list of accommodations near the venue is listed below.

  • Water Edge Hotel in Birzebbugia

  • South Winds, Marsaxlokk

  • Dun Gorg, Marsaxlokk

  • South Winds, Marsaxlokk

  • Fisherman's Cove, Marsaxlokk

  • Port View, Marsaxlokk

  • Harbour Lodge, Marsaxlokk

  • Quay Side, Marsaxlokk

  • Duncan Guest House, Marsaxlokk


Sunday, September 11

Festa Ħut (Mir-Raħal tas-Sajjieda) is a celebration of one of Malta’s oldest trades and a great opportunity to learn the culture and the folklore of fishing. This is celebrated in Marsaxlokk - a quaint fishing village in the south-east of Malta. Visiting Marsaxlokk during Festa Ħut can truly immerse the visitors in the Maltese culture and also appreciate the work done by local fishers. The traditional and colourful fishing boats known as luzzu, are one of the highlights of the event. These small fishing wooden boats, which are painted in bright shades of blue, red, yellow and green, have been used in Malta for many years. Each boat has a painted pair of eyes on the bow, which symbolize power and good health, and are believed to offer protection to the fishermen while they are at sea. The luzzu boats can be seen all over the waters surrounding Marsaxlokk, colouring the scene with their bright colours. As the luzzu boats draw close to the shore, one can observe the freshly caught fish being transferred directly to the stalls where it will be sold and consumed within hours.

A typical programme at the Festa Ħut consists of fresh fish market, fishing competitions, traditional performers (Għana, folk dance  and strolling musicians), cooking demonstrations, exhibition of traditional fishing tools, boat trips and many other activities.

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International Organizing Committee

Alicia Bugeja Said (Co-Chair)

 Ministry for Fisheries, Agriculture and Animal Rights, Malta

Ratana Chuenpagdee (Co-hair)

Memorial University, Canada

Milena Arias Schreiber

Gothenburg University, Sweden

 Katia Frangoudes

University of Brest, France

Douglas MacMillan

University of Kent, UK

Brian O'Riordan

Low Impact Fishers of Europe, Belgium


José J. Pascual-Fernández

University of La Laguna, Spain

Salmi Pekka

Natural Resources Institute Finland

Jerneja Penca

Euro-Mediterranean University, Slovenia

Cristina Pita

 International Institute for Environment and Development, UK

Brice Trouillet

 University of Nantes, France

2022 International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA)

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2022 the International Year for Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022). IYAFA aims to enhance understanding of, raise awareness, and support the contributions of small-scale and artisanal fisheries and aquaculture to sustainable development around the world; specifically their role in food security, nutrition provision, poverty eradication, and sustainable use of natural resources. IYAFA 2022 also aims to promote sharing and collaboration among small-scale fishers, fishworkers, fishfarmers, and stakeholders to support policy co-development. 


The IYAFA Global Action Plan (GAP) promotes inclusive value chains, gender equity and equality, awareness and resilience to climate change and disasters, sustainable use of biodiversity, empowering fishers, building partnerships, and nourishing nations by, with, and for artisanal fisheries and aquaculture. These key messages are the foundation of IYAFA, and will help guide sustainable development in the years to come. 

The 4th World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress series is part of IYAFA. We recognize and celebrate the billions of people whose lives and livelihoods are artisanal fisheries and aquaculture around the world.