A look around the globe: building SSF pictures one question at a time

An estimated 560 million people, or 8% of the global population, directly or indirectly depend on fishing for a living. According to FAO, more than 90% of these people are involved in small-scale fisheries, contributing to food security and poverty eradication, sustaining ecosystems, supporting local communities, and livelihoods, and promoting cultural inheritance. These figures and features suggest that small-scale fisheries are both ‘too big to ignore’ and ‘too important to fail’. Yet, many aspects of small-scale fisheries, starting from what they are, how they are defined and how important they are to the society, remain obscure.

A few years ago, TBTI developed “20 Questions about SSF”. These questions resulted from more than two years of consultation with international experts with the aim to capture key characteristics about small-scale fisheries. The 20 questions are available through TBTI Information System on Small-scale Fisheries (ISSF) and are at the core of 'SSF Profile layer' in ISSF, providing information such as ecosystem, gear, market distribution, governance  and much more. 

Starting this month, TBTI will publish a series of short surveys on small-scale fisheries, which will be based on “20 Questions about SSF”. The first survey in this series focuses on terms and definitions we use when referring to small-scale fisheries in different locations around the world. These surveys are  designed to highlight the characteristics of fisheries around the globe as a means to increase their visibility and help design adequate policies and management strategies that support them. one question at the time!