Giving European Small-Scale Fisheries a Place: Research Priorities and Opportunities

Easkey Britton, a post-doctoral fellow with the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) initiative, writes for GAP2 on TBTI’s first research briefing.

‘Too Big To Ignore’ (TBTI) is a global research partnership that aims to raise the profile of small-scale fisheries (SSFs) around the world. Within TBTI, research is conducted to address issues related to economic viability, livelihoods and well-being, conservation and stewardship, access and rights, and SSF Governance.

TBTI’s first research brief highlights the importance of small-scale fisheries for the sustainable development and viability of fisheries and their communities in Europe. The brief recognises the importance of SSF in Europe for the employment and welfare they provide, as well as their role in developing a future in which environmental sustainability, food sovereignty and community well-being stand centre stage. Although ‘small’ when considered at a regional or national scale, the benefits of SSF can be big.

The research brief (find it here) aims to build on the progress made for small-scale fisheries within the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), identifying opportunities and priorities relevant for SSF stakeholders, researchers and policy-makers. The new CFP provides the opportunity to integrate SSF into European strategies and policies for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, as well as into policies and strategies for social inclusion, food security and rural development. The challenge now is how to put these opportunities into action.

This brief calls on key stakeholders in SSF to push governments at all levels, and researchers too, to address how fishing communities are going to adapt to the new changes. What are the (potential and actual) social, ecological and economic impacts of the new CFP and how will the different actors in SSF communities experience these? In particular, the real need to better support the relationships or links in the fisheries value chain, especially when it comes to markets, employment, community and decision-making.  

The research priorities and opportunities to address the needs of SSF and how this sector can best implement the CFP to create positive change are:

  •  Improving our knowledge of SSF
  • Creating new market opportunities for SSF
  • Enhancing economic viability – a focus on youth and women
  • Providing access to appropriate fishing rights and opportunities
  • Leadership from the bottom-up: developing access to decision-making

Enhancing awareness and promoting the advancement of knowledge on the importance of SSF for employment, welfare and their potential for environmental sustainability, food sovereignty and community well-being is essential for securing the future of SSF in Europe

To read TBTI’s research brief in full, click here



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