Didn’t small-scale, community-based fisheries subsist for thousands of years? What’s changed?
First, we must note the importance of small-scale fisheries in developing communities. Fisheries are often the main source of sustenance and livelihoods to the communities of their fishermen and their collapse may mean an environmental and economic collapse of their community.
Second, while it is true that local subsistence fisheries have historically been managed successfully by their community members, a few factors of the modern world have changed the dynamic between communities and their fisheries.
Technology – the introduction of technologies such as motors, advanced nets, and other mechanisms have enabled much higher levels of extraction of fish.
Global Markets – in many cases local fisheries are now either producing for more than their own local community and/or are competing with commercial fisheries that have moved into their waters.
Population – increasing populations are increasing the demand for seafood, especially in developing countries where seafood is often a primary source of protein.
As long as small-scale fisheries continue to be impacted by global trends, they will need a new approach that meets the changing landscape.