Sustainable Fisheries: Multi-Level Approaches to a Global Problem

Small-Scale Fisheries by Farmers around the Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia

Mina Hori, Satoshi Ishikawa, and Hisashi Kurokura

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874219.ch8

Worldwide, there are 38 million fishers, 90% of whom operate small-scale fisheries in developing nations located in Africa, Latin America, and Asia (FAO 2002; Béné et al. 2007). These fisheries support a postharvest sector that employs more than 100 million people (Béné et al. 2007), ultimately resulting in improved livelihoods for more than 200 million people when family members of the fisher and allied industries are counted (McGoodwin 2001).

These numbers, while impressive, do not include people who are involved in fisheries seasonally or occasionally (FAO 2005) and thus miss a large number of people who engage in and profit from the world’s fisheries resources. The importance of small-scale fisheries cannot be understated, as not only do they provide for the nutritional needs of the local communities, but they are often the last resort for people who have lost their jobs or lands to obtain food or employment, as these fisheries are generally open access and require limited capital to start (ADB 1997; Pauly 1997).

In addition to supplying the needs for food and employment, the small-scale fisheries resources of developing countries currently comprise more than 66% of the global fish catch (Arnason et al. 2009), a value that continues to rise with the growing demand for food fishes related to the dramatic increases in human population numbers, particularly in Asia, Africa, and Latin American countries (Tidwell and Allan 2001; Delgado et al. 2003). As such, designing and implementing a sustainable resource management system for small-scale fisheries in developing countries, where people depend on fish for animal protein, is an urgent issue (Delgado et al. 2003).