Authors: Anna Schuhbauer and U. Rashid Sumaila
Ecological Economics (April 2016) Vol 124, pp. 69–75
Despite the high numbers of small-scale fishing vessels and small-scale fishers in the world, these fisheries are often understudied. Small-scale fisheries (SSF) tend to be economically and politically marginalized, making them vulnerable to large-scale threats. To support this sector and contribute to its sustainability, the authors argue that it is fundamental to understand how economically viable SSF are. The article provides a critical review and describes the current discourse on the economic viability of SSF. The authors showed that economic viability is mainly equated with financial viability, where profitability is the goal. Furthermore, in consideration of socio-economic aspects, the maintenance of nonnegative net benefits to society is often not considered in current notions of economic viability. It is necessary to develop or expand current methods to better take into account social aspects when assessing the economic viability of SSF. This would help find solutions to make these fisheries less vulnerable and better equipped to face large-scale processes of change.
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