Small-scale fishing has huge social and economic significance with several million artisanal fishers active around the world and many millions more whose livelihood and security are intimately tied to their work. The catch of these small producers plays an essential role in local food security and income generation as well as providing important products for world markets. 

However, despite the vital role of small-scale fisheries in human well-being and the global seafood industry, they are often poorly managed, and fishing communities and livelihoods remain vulnerable to a wide array of factors. Despite many attempts to directly assist fishing communities, many challenges. SFP believes that the most effective way to increase the well-being of fishing communities is to address both the socio-economic elements of the challenge AND the management of natural marine resources. SFP supports approaches that simultaneously work to improve fisheries governance to achieve resource sustainability and address the social and economic dimensions of the problem. 

Small-scale producers are also essential to aquaculture production. In Asia, smaller farms owned and operated by individuals and families generate a large amount of product. Their economies are highly vulnerable to risks such as disease. Large numbers of small producers in a region can present significant challenges in terms of coordinating disease management measures and limiting cumulative pollution impacts to the local environment. SFP works with industry to promote practical measures that enhance coordination among farmers and reduce disease risks while limiting environmental impacts.

What we do

SFP actively supports small-scale producer initiatives including:

Collaborating with Oxfam to identify ways that the seafood industry can support social development in seafood-producing communities. The two organizations, along with the UN Development Program, held a conference in September 2015 to convene stakeholders with an interest in connecting the seafood industry to the development needs of fishers and fish farmers. Click here for the conference report. 

Working with fishing communities in Indonesia on a fishery improvement project around blue swimming crab. The FIP addresses both environmental and social dimensions. 

Directly supporting FIPs that involve artisanal fishers. Examples include the Gulf of California Sinaloa artisanal shrimp, Gulf of California swimming crab, Magdalena Bay shrimp, and Indonesia handline tuna FIPs.  Learn about these FIPs here

Working through aquaculture improvement projects (AIPs) to support small-scale producers of seafood commodities such as shrimp. 

Developing robust socio-economic indicators that allow fishery assessments to address the ecological, social, and economic dimensions of seafood producing communities.