Supporting Small-Scale Fisheries

Organizing fishers improves fishery management

Organizing traditionally excluded artisanal squid fishers and processors from coastal states improves science-based fishery management on the high seas.

A study by SFP, published in Ocean and Coastal Management, finds that the organizing of artisanal fishers and processors from coastal states can enable their participation in Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), and by doing so leads RFMOs to more sustainable, science-based, and equitable fisheries management.

The research analyzed the formation of CALAMASUR (Committee for the Sustainable Management of the Jumbo Flying Squid in the South Pacific) and its engagement over the past five years in the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO). The study found that participatory governance schemes, as demonstrated by the efforts implemented by CALAMASUR with the SPRFMO, can result in better informed and more equitable outcomes for artisanal and small-scale fisheries.

“This is the first time artisanal fishers and processors have strategically mobilized and engaged at a scale to achieve policy results in a squid RFMO. We hope this can be an example for other communities around the world.”

– Enrique Alonso, SFP global fisheries director

Key Takeaways

  • Strong organization and leadership by artisanal fishers and processors enabled their effective participation in fisheries management at the level of the SPRFMO.
  • Engaging country delegates with science-driven proposals resulted in implementation of the first-ever jumbo flying squid (JFS) conservation and management measures in the SPRFMO that addressed critical issues impacting artisanal fishers in the fishery.
  • Inclusive fishery governance systems that allow for the effective participation of fishers and fishery stakeholders whose livelihoods are directly affected by the decisions helps advance equitable and responsible fisheries management.
  • CALAMASUR’s participation and engagement with the SPRFMO contributed to the 2020 approval of the first-ever regional JFS conservation and management measures and, in 2023, a second historic milestone with the enactment of fishing effort limits and improved controls over transhipment in distant-water squid fleets.


What Can I Do?

Learn more about how you can help empower artisanal and small-scale fishers around the world.