Artisanal fishing is a term that often describes small boats, simple equipment and traditional knowledge of the environment and fish to sustain themselves. These kinds of fisheries can be found around the world for subsistence purposes.
Artisanal fisheries can be more environmentally friendly and less detrimental to marine species than industrial-scale fishing operations, depending on the technology employed and how it’s applied. The goal should be to minimize negative impacts on ecosystems and marine species while still maximizing economic returns.
Sustainable artisanal fishing is defined as using minimal technology and equipment to harvest resources while producing maximum profit. Furthermore, it requires relatively low investment in capital – particularly crucial in developing countries where labor tends to be cheaper than equipment.
Millions of people rely on small-scale and artisanal fisheries for employment. Unfortunately, they face several challenges and threats such as decentralization – offering them opportunities to direct their development – globalization with its profound political and economic repercussions – and numerous coastal activities that cause water pollution and habitat destruction.
Artisanal fishers face additional obstacles due to a lack of access to credit and important social protection services like unemployment benefits or health insurance, according to Anna Carlson – Fishery Officer for Socio-Economic Issues at GFC-Med. As a result, they cannot invest in their businesses or plan ahead, she added.
The Mediterranean Sea is home to some of the most endangered and threatened species on earth. Fishing in this region provides a vital source of income for many families, and the loss of marine biodiversity could impact future generations’ livelihoods.
Despite these difficulties, there have been some positive developments that are helping the artisanal fishing community improve its economic situation and gain access to marine resources and markets. UNDP is currently collaborating with ECOFISH project in Mauritius on a series of initiatives that promote innovation and upskilling.
This initiative will empower artisanal fishers with new resources and boost their profits by giving them the equipment to explore new waters. They’ll gain access to upgraded fish landing stations and improved post-harvest processes that will maximize their profits from fishing operations.
By participating in relevant meetings held by the UN and national and local councils, they can gain a better understanding of their environment and how their actions have an impact on it. By making sure their voices are heard at these important gatherings, they ensure their concerns are taken seriously and their interests represented.
They can assist in the formulation of conservation policies, such as marine protected areas and national/regional plans for ocean management. Researchers may find them beneficial in collecting data on artisanal fishing practices that could potentially identify sources of marine biodiversity loss.