On Nov. 21, Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) is joining with fishing and coastal communities around the world to celebrate World Fisheries Day, a yearly celebration highlighting the importance of fisheries to human culture and well-being. COS and other organizations such as the WorldFish Center will mark the day by highlighting research on small-scale fisheries and their role in improving livelihoods, social resiliency and food security, with special attention paid to women in the fisheries industry and their importance in reducing poverty.[i] To address challenges facing artisanal fisheries such as overfishing, our blog explores ways to sustain fish stocks while continuing to support human demands upon them.
Artisanal and Small-Scale Fisheries
Artisanal and small-scale fisheries[ii] are vitally important to most coastal communities for livelihoods, food security and cultural heritage. They provide an important source of protein, products for local markets and employment in harvesting, gathering and post-landings processing, distribution and marketing activities.[iii] In fact, estimates from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization suggest these fisheries employ more than 90 percent of the world’s capture fishers plus contribute up to 30 percent of GDP in the Pacific Islands.[iv] In addition, although artisanal and commercial fisheries annually catch the same amount of fish for human consumption (30 million tons), artisanal fisheries employ 25 times the number of fishers (over 12 million people) while using one-eighth of the amount of fuel.[v]
Challenges and Barriers
Today, an estimated two-thirds of the world’s population lives within 100 miles of the coastline.[vi] Along the coast and globally, populations are growing, resulting in increasing demand for food and resources. Consequently, an estimated 87 percent of fisheries worldwide are already fully exploited or overexploited.[vii] With global populations projected to increase by 2.5 billion by 2050[viii] this threat will continue to pose challenges in the future. Globally fisheries are experiencing direct threats from:
- Overcapacity and overfishing;
- Bycatch; and
- Illegal and destructive fishing techniques.
In addition, industrial-scale overfishing is expected to continue into the coming decade, mainly in response to continued expansion of global markets and trade.[ix] While both industrial and small-scale fisheries will face the challenges associated with overexploitation of our marine resources, artisanal and small-scale fisheries are particularly vulnerable to highly competitive industrial fleets. Moreover, when compared to industrial and commercial fisheries, monitoring, sustainable management and regulation enforcement of artisanal and small-scale fisheries are often overlooked and lack required capacity, especially in developing countries.
These direct threats to global fisheries are being exacerbated by indirect threats, such as:
- Unsustainable coastal development;
- Increased marine- and land-based pollution;
- Ocean acidification from climate change;
- Destruction of ocean and coastal habitats; and
- Decreased water quality from sedimentation.
The impacts of these threats can alter recruitment and change food web dynamics, threaten food security and livelihoods, and reduce tourism.
Sustainable Fisheries Management Strategies
In the context of degrading ecosystems, increasing fishing and growing human populations, there is urgent need to design and implement sustainable management strategies for artisanal and small-scale fisheries.[x] Current examples include the use of marine protected areas in community-based management efforts, establishing catch shares or other rights-based management strategies, building capacity to increase legitimate and true representation of fishing effort through permits and cooperatives, developing more effective data collection methods, and identifying and improving fisheries assessment methods to better understand the status of fish stocks.
Example Strategies in the Pacific Ocean
- Rights-based Management in Chile: The Chilean National Benthic Resources Territorial Use Rights for Fishing Programme (TURF Programme) includes over 17,000 artisanal fishermen co-managing over 550 distinct areas along the coast. The voluntary system primarily manages loco, Chile’s most valuable mollusk, and provides secure access to benthic resources to groups of artisanal fishermen. Management utilizes sound science and promotes co-management by the government, industry and the private sector.[xi]
- Locally Managed Marine Areas in Fiji: The Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) is based on the traditional system of qoliqolis, which makes a coastal fishing area part of a community’s customary property rights. Creation of an FLMMA requires a request from the community, which helps ensure a transparent, bottom-up approach.[xii] As such, small-scale and artisanal community fishers have more involvement and are more engaged in the management and enforcement of these marine areas. Through the establishment of the FLMMA, community fishers created several managed areas, or tabu, for the Fijian clam fishery, which was in serious decline. The overall result was a 250–300 percent increase in productivity in the permitted take area and a 10 percent rise in household incomes.[xiii]
- Community Empowerment through Small-Scale Fisheries Cooperatives in Ecuador: Cooperatives are a way of buffering small-scale fisheries from the threats of fisheries mismanagement, livelihood insecurity and poverty – harsh realities for many of the world’s small-scale fishers.[xiv] Cooperatives enable communities to unify, organize and establish more independence in the ways they harvest and market their products. For example, the Isabela Women’s Association “Blue Fish” in Ecuador created a local market for tuna, which provides jobs to unemployed women. The tuna is processed, smoked and sold to tourists with the goal of improving local livelihoods through the development of sustainable economic activities. Approximately 600 people from the Ecuadorian village have directly benefited from this project.[xv]
Determining the most effective sustainable artisanal and small-scale fisheries management strategies depends on the specific needs and challenges of each region and must be taken into consideration when designing approaches. In many developing nations, for example, human and financial resources available to conduct research, establish effective management and perform monitoring and enforcement are severely limited. Further, the inherently decentralized nature of artisanal fisheries poses additional challenges to meeting these needs.[xvi] Ongoing efforts across the Pacific are working to collect necessary data and design fisheries assessment methods to inform effective management decisions. Organizations such as the Too Big To Ignore Partnership at Memorial University and the Artisanal Fisheries Research Network at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are working to build collaboration among small-scale fisheries researchers. The Environmental Defense Fund is developing and disseminating data-poor fisheries assessment methods to help better inform management decisions in fisheries with very little or no data.
Research on Artisanal and Small-Scale Fisheries in the Pacific
This month we highlight artisanal and small-scale fisheries in the Pacific in three articles that discuss the impacts and implications of the fisheries to livelihoods and explore management strategies aimed at ensuring future sustainability. Click on the title links below to view the abstracts in the Pacific Ocean Library, and while you are there, have a look around!
Philippa J. Cohen and Simon J. Foale (2013)
This article discusses how spatial marine closures are widely employed and advocated for marine resource management and conservation. It focuses on the application of periodic closures and develops a framework to assess periodic closures employed for tropical small-scale fisheries, focusing on case studies from the Indo-Pacific.
Blake D. Ratner and Edmund J.V. Oh (2012)
This article describes the transition from a first-generation to a second-generation fisheries perspective, noting the factors motivating practitioners to increase attention overtime and as management evolves to the broader governance challenges in the Philippines and Vietnam. It addresses the governance challenges of small-scale fisheries co-management across regions, and provides a basis for more systematic cross-country and cross-regional learning.
Ayana E. Johnson, Joshua E. Cinner, Marah J. Hardt, Jennifer Jacquet, Tim R. McClanahan, and James N. Sanchirico (2012)
This article presents a literature review that evaluates topics and trends in research efforts on artisanal coral reef fisheries. It examines the ecological and socioeconomic thresholds, trade-offs and limits associated with different management options.
Explore the Library!
Did you know that the Pacific Ocean Library now contains more than 6,700 articles, government publications and reports from the Pacific region that focus on the greatest threats, environmental and socioeconomic impacts and potential solutions for the region? The library is a great resource for anyone involved in coastal and ocean conservation and management. Each month, we select focal topics of importance to practitioners, managers, academics, decision-makers and stakeholders within Pacific Ocean communities and add interesting reports, resources and tools to provide them with a robust one-stop information source. This month, we added 34 new articles related to artisanal and small-scale fisheries in the Pacific. To view these articles and browse for other helpful resources on topics of interest, click here. If you have an idea for a focal topic, send it to us at email@example.com.
[i] The WorldFish Center. (n.d.). The WorldFish Center recognizes World Fisheries Day. Welcome to WorldFish-WorldFish. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.worldfishcenter.org/news-events/world-fisheries-day.i
[ii] According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), artisanal and small-scale fisheries are terms that are often used interchangeably and defined as “a simple, individual (self-employed) or family type of enterprise (as opposed to an industrial company), most often operated by the owner (even though the vessels may sometimes belong to the fishmonger or some external investor), with the support of the household. Artisanal or small-scale fisheries can be subsistence or commercial fisheries providing for local consumption or export.” from FAO. (n.d.). Small-scale and artisanal fisheries. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.fao.org/fishery/topic/14753/en.
[iii] Kittinger, J.N. (2013). Human dimensions of small-scale and traditional fisheries in the Asia-Pacific region. Pacific Science, 67(3), In press.
[iv]FAO. (2012). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e.pdf.
[v] Jacquet, J. and Pauly, D. (2008). Funding Priorities: Big Barriers to Small-Scale Fisheries. Conservation Biology, 22 (4), 832-35. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00978.x/full
[vi] National Academy of the Sciences. (2007). Coastal Hazards. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/osb/miscellaneous/coastal_hazards.pdf.
[viii] United Nations. (2007). World Population will Increase by 2.5 Billion by 2050; People over 60 to Increase by More than 1 Billion. United Nations Department of Public Information. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2007/pop952.doc.htm.
[ix] Pauly, D. (2010). Trends in Seafood Supply: Challenging Assumption in a Changing World. Sea Around Us Project, Fisheries Centre, UBC. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.seafoodchoices.com/seafoodsummit/presentations.php#Pauly.
[x] Scripps Institution of Oceanography. (n.d.). Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries Research Network. UCSD. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://artisanalfisheries.ucsd.edu/about-artisanal-fisheries/.
[xi] Environmental Defense Fund. (n.d.). Chilean National Benthic Resources TURF Program. Environmental Defense Fund- Oceans. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.edf.org/oceans/catch-share-design-center/chilean-national-benthic-resources-turf-programme.
[xii] Fisheries Our Common Wealth. (n.d.). CHEC Case Study: Fisherfolk Livelihoods in Fiji- Key Findings and Issues Arising. Common Wealth Fisheries. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.commonwealthfisheries.org/admin/downloads/docs/CHEC%20Fiji%20Findings%20&%20Iss ues%20Arising.pdf.
[xiii] Bourne, R. and Collins, M. (eds) (2009). From Hook to Plate: The State of Marine Fisheries. A Commonwealth Perspective. London: Commonwealth Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.commonwealthfoundation.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=o96pgLaZ8sA%3D&tabid=170.
[xiv] FAO. (2012). Cooperatives in small-scale fisheries: enabling successes through community empowerment. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/ap408e/ap408e.pdf.
[xv] Poverty and Conservation Learning Group. (2007). Isabela Women’s Association “Blue Fish”, Ecuador. Poverty and Conservation. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://povertyandconservation.info/en/case/C0257.
[xvi] Scripps Institution of Oceanography. (n.d.). Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries Research Network. UCSD. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://artisanalfisheries.ucsd.edu/about-artisanal-fisheries/.
Text Box Sources:
xvii. Smith, I. R. (1979). A Research Framework for Traditional Fisheries. ICLARM Studies and Reviews 2. International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), Manila, Philippines.; Berkes, F., C. Folke, and J. Colding. (1998). Linking social and ecological systems: management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.; Chuenpagdee, R., (eds). (2011). World Small-Scale Fisheries: Contemporary Visions. Eburon Academic Publishers, Delft, The Netherlands.; FAO, and WorldFish Center. (2008). Small-scale capture fisheries: A global overview with emphasis on developing countries: A preliminary report of the Big Numbers Project. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WorldFish Center.
xviii. Weeratunge, N., Snyder, K. A., and Sze, C. P. (2010). Gleaner, fisher, trader, processor: understanding gendered employment in fisheries and aquaculture. Fish and Fisheries, 11, 405-20. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-2979.2010.00368.x/pdf.
xix. FAO, and WorldFish Center. (2008). Small-scale capture fisheries: A global overview with emphasis on developing countries: A preliminary report of the Big Numbers Project. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WorldFish Center. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://www.worldfishcenter.org/resource_centre/Big_Numbers_Project_Preliminary_Report.pdf.