Small fisheries make big contributions to welfare
Small and inland fisheries are often more informal and dispersed than their larger marine counterparts, making them hard to track. The appearance that they are less productive than large fisheries simply reflects our lack information about them, which breeds a lack of understanding and support. In collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization and many national partners, WorldFish has recently completed a reanalysis of these fisheries in terms of catch and participation to better guide policy and investment in the subsector.
Preliminary findings are compelling. Over half of the catch in developing countries comes from small-scale fisheries, from which 90-95% of landings are destined for domestic human consumption. This illustrates their contribution to local food security. They also provide over 90% of all fishery jobs, with women accounting for about half of the total fishery workforce in developing countries, both full and part time. Small fisheries also provide food and income to millions of occasional fishers and fishery workers, serving as a security net for poorer populations, especially in coastal areas. Many small fisheries in developing countries are vulnerable to threats both internal and external. Volatile fuel prices constitute a particular concern in this respect, as fuel typically absorbs a major part of the cost of fishing, even in less-mechanized small fisheries.
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