Rethinking Small-Scale Fisheries Governance

Authored by: Ratana Chuenpagdee , Svein Jentoft

Routledge Handbook of Ocean Resources and Management

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415531757
eBook ISBN: 9780203115398
Adobe ISBN: 9781136294822


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Despite the general recognition of their social, cultural and economic importance, small-scale fisheries are still ignored or dismissed as relics of the past. In many countries, this marginalization is shown by inadequate financial, institutional and scientific support for small-scale fisheries (Béné and Friend, 2011; Teh et al., 2011). Further, management decisions, especially regarding rules and regulations, are not sensitive to the conditions and needs of this sector. They do not reflect the roles and contributions that small-scale fishing people make to the society in terms of income generation, food security, poverty alleviation and fisheries sustainability. They also do not respect traditional user and access rights of small-scale fishing people. On the contrary, fisheries management tends to view the small-scale fishing sector as a problem that needs to be solved. For instance, when faced with resource degradation and overexploitation issues, one common solution has been to reduce fishing capacity, which often implies cutting down on the large number of small boats. On the other hand, gear and technological enhancement aimed at improving the fishing efficiency of large-scale fishing operations may be framed as a good thing, when argued from a food provision perspective. But from the justice point of view there are many other factors that need to be considered in the decision about what policy interventions are most suited to address the current and emerging fisheries challenges.

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