Small scale Artisanal Fisheries Research Network
Nets and boats in a Malagasy village (Madagascar) Photo Credit: Tara Whitty
ARTISANAL FISHERIES - What are they, and why are they important?
Artisanal fisheries are small-scale fisheries for subsistence or local, small markets, generally using traditional fishing techniques and small boats. They occur around the world (particularly in developing nations) and are vital to livelihoods and food security . Collectively, these fisheries catch about 30 million tons of fish for human consumption annually (the same amount as commercial fisheries), and an estimated 150 million people directly depend on these fisheries for protein and income.
Artisanal fisheries have suffered negative impacts on marine ecosystem due to overfishing, damage to reefs and mangroves, invasive species. Because artisanal fishers depend on the health of marine ecosystems for their subsistence, the added threat of climate change and sea level rise will not only threaten biodiversity, but human well being as well.
However, we only have very limited information on these fisheries – we need more data on what they catch, how much they catch, and the underlying socioeconomic and cultural drivers. The limited infrastructure in many developing nations for research, management, and monitoring, and the inherently decentralized nature of artisanal fisheries, pose significant research challenges. Given the increase in artisanal fishing effort with increasing population pressures, increasing understanding of artisanal fisheries is an emerging priority for marine conservation.
Understanding and managing artisanal fisheries effectively requires (1) effective collaboration and communication across disciplines and research projects, and (2) cooperation with artisanal fishing communities. We need to understand the ecology of impacted marine ecosystems and to quantitatively and scientifically assess the extent and nature of the impacts. To truly move forward to effectively mitigate these impacts, we need to study the socioeconomic and cultural forces that underly these fisheries.
The Small Scale Artisanal Fisheries Research Network SAFRN
This newly formed group within the Center for Marine Biodiversity and
Conservation (CMBC) aims to facilitate knowledge sharing and
collaboration between researchers interested in artisanal fisheries at
SIO, UCSD, NOAA, and beyond. SAFRN researchers are interested in
fostering an improved understanding of the socioeconomic and cultural
drivers underlying these fisheries and the management implications of
these drivers. Group members represent diverse academic disciplines
(including marine biology, economics, international relations, and
business) and research locations all over the world, including the
Caribbean, North America, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific. The
group is currently dominated by natural scientists, but is actively
recruiting social scientists such as economists, anthropologists,
sociologists, and historians. We hope that this group will
play an important role in furthering in the study of artisanal fisheries
– we are poised to be at the vanguard of a field that is
increasingly recognized as a key issue in marine conservation.
Artisanal fisheries are diverse in nature, geographically dispersed and vulnerable to external forces and in crisis.
Watch the video: Small-Scale Fisheries, Global Impact &
Our Vision for the Conservation of Marine Ecosystems
Not so small after all... Please read the new study that highlights the importance of small scale fisheries for coastal economies
Westpunt fishing harbor, Curacoa
Photo credit: photo by Ayana Johnson
Sorting through the morning's catch (Madagascar)
Photo credit: photo by Tara Whitty
The Day's Catch in Curacoa includes snappers, grunts, barracudas, jacks and parrotfish all shot with a speargun
Photo credit: Ayana Johnson
Native Hawaiian Fishponds: Environmental and Economic Relevance By: Damien Cie
The Effect of the Copra Subsidy on Fishing, Welfare and Coral Reef Ecosystems and ecosystem health in Kiribati. By: Sheila Walsh
Artisanal shark fisheries in northern Chile. By: Andrew Nosal
Reducing bycatch without reducing value: Fish Traps with Escape Gaps. By: Ayana Johnson
Ayana's photo gallery on artisanal fishing on Curacao
Short film from the UK Government's Darwin Sustainable Artisanal Fisheries Initiative in Peru
The films details what I think is a near ideal “Darwin Initiative” project as well as outlining the salient features of the funding initiative. For those working in countries “Rich in biodiversity and poor in resources”