The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that small-scale fisheries are responsible for 50% of total fish caught in developing countries, but less than 10% of these fisheries are managed sustainably. While industrial fisheries have seen tremendous progress toward sustainability over the last 15 years, small-scale fisheries represent a significant challenge that makes up a bigger piece of the puzzle than most realize.
A small-scale fishery, aka artisanal, is a traditional fishing industry made up mostly of households within a community, as opposed to commercial companies. Characteristics of a small-scale fishery include:
- a relatively small amount of capital needed to enter the fishery
- fishing vessels are relatively small
- fishing trips are short and local
- the catch is primarily for local consumption