Small-scale and artisanal fisheries: Insights and approaches for improved governance and management in a globalized context

Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) make important but often poorly quantified contributions to national and regional economies, to local food security and nutrition of millions of people. As such they provide an important lever for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in rural areas. The dynamics that drive SSFs and their observed social, economic and environmental outcomes tend to be a complex mix of endogenous factors, such as over-fishing and conflict over resources, and external pressures such as climate change and international demand for seafood. As a generalization, small-scale and artisanal fishers suffer from poorly defined rights to marine resources, which can negatively affect conservation incentives. They are often (but not always) among the poorest and most marginalized parts of society and are generally poorly represented in national and international policy fora. However, poorly defined access rights are only part of a complex puzzle of diverse fishing practices and often weak governance structures to regulate them. As shown by Smith and Basurto, many countries display weak political will to engage comprehensively with SSFs. Weak community institutions and sparse data availability often further undermine the capacity for assessment and management. Past failures to address these issues have had significant social consequences and have affected livelihoods, increased vulnerability to poverty, and meant less availability of fish protein per capita. New and improved ways of understanding, analyzing and governing and SSFs are therefore still in demand, in order to allow SSFs to become the lever for sustainable contribution the SDGs it ought to be. A growing number of studies have shown the importance of broadening policy and academic inquiry to include the entire value chain, as many drivers of exploitation are channeled through and influenced by market structures and market actors (Brewer et al., 2009; Crona et al., 2010, 2016; Cinner et al., 2016; Purcell et al., 2017; Drury O’Neill et al., 2019). Sustaining marine resources and fisheries livelihoods therefore demands consideration of the interactions between ecosystems, small-scale fishing, and the domestic and international seafood markets. Institutional contexts of SSFs also play an important role in resource sustainability, yet successful fisheries governance remains a challenge. In this Research Topic we therefore bring together a broad selection of papers that, in different ways, shed new light on these challenges and how to address them

Keywords: artisanal, small-scale fisheries, trade, governance, market, multi-species, gender, management

Citation: Crona, B.I., R.S. Pomeroy, and S.W. Purcell 2020 Frontiers in Marine Science 7:455

Small-scale and artisanal fisheries: Insights and approaches for improved governance and management in a globalized context

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