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 

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