Small-scale fisheries (SSF) face many threats and challenges, including climate change, globalization, competition from industrial fisheries, and rapid market shifts. To withstand these threats, fishers need tools and information to help them prepare and adapt. To achieve this, it is essential to assess SSF, important part of which is to understand and explore the economic viability of SSF. Economic viability, in general, is used to describe financial performance or ecological-economic viability of fisheries. In the context of this project, economic viability is defined more comprehensively as the net economic benefits or contribution from SSF to society. The aim of this cluster is to explore and analyze the economic SSF data in order to improve economic viability of SSF and thus help SSF withstand and adapt to the many threats they face.
For information on participation, see the “How to contribute” section below.
The aims of this research cluster are to:
1. identify factors affecting economic viability of SSF in as many places around the world as possible;
2. compare and contrast the mechanisms used by fishers to improve their economic viability; and
3. make appropriate policy recommendations in accordance with these findings.
To achieve these aims we have conducted an in-depth review of the literature, completed brainstorming sessions at TBTI workshops, consulted with various expert groups, and identified fourteen attributes considered to be important to economic viability. Attributes were selected based on their relevance, measurability and objectivity. A report from one of these workshops held in Bagamoyo Tanzania in April 2014 is available online. At the workshop, research from different African case-studies related to economic viability, was presented. A framework was then developed to guide economic viability assessments at both a country and case-study level.
Economic viability comparative assessment
An important step to better understand the economic viability of small-scale fisheries (SSF) and how it can be assessed is to directly compare certain attributes with large-scale fisheries (LSF). We are currently conducting a comparative assessment that is necessary given the difficulty in gathering suitable data in many SSF, especially quantitative information on basic economic indicators.This information, once collected and formatted into a database, will serve as a cornerstone for understanding the economics and benefits to society from SSF from all over the world.
To find out more about the assessment and to contribute your data, download the Economic-Viability-Assessment template. The completed template should be sent to to firstname.lastname@example.org as an attachment. Submission deadline is January 31, 2016.
The main deliverables from this cluster will be a database of economic viability case studies based on the fourteen questions above, which will then be used to feedback information to fishers, policy makers, and managers. We are also planning to publish a book or a special volume in a journal about the economic viability of SSF, where each case-study would form one chapter or contribution. The database will be part of the larger TBTI Information System on Small-scale Fisheries (ISSF). The database will be published online and will also serve as a cornerstone for understanding the economics and benefits from SSF to society on a global scale.
We will share the analysis of the database with fishers and policy makers and managers, with the aim of improving the economic viability of SSF, and help fisheries to prepare for and withstand the threats they face.
To populate this database we require your contributions from your own work and case studies. It may not always be possible to find answers to all fourteen questions outlined here, but the more data and case studies we have the more useful the results will become. We therefore encourage everybody who works or has worked with a small-scale fishery to contribute to the economic viability assessment of SSF. Your contributions will help us understand, on a global scale, which attributes are the most important. This assessment will also allow us to identify knowledge gaps so that we have a better idea about where more research is needed in the future Your contribution will be one of many pieces, which will together elevate the profile of SSF globally and help reduce their marginalization.
We are happy to receive any feedback about the attribute list and the framework. Your feedback will not only help us improve our research but also increase the impact of our study.
|Timeline / Work plan||
We call on all individuals or institutions, including universities, research institutes and community-based organizations interested in contributing to this exciting thematic cluster by actively participating in the generation of these outcomes. Since TBTI can only provide seed funding to support basic activities in the cluster, it is important to stress that each member draws from ongoing or recently concluded work and/or partners with others to leverage resources. It is, nevertheless, envisioned that this cluster’s work will, at least initially, rely on a concise appraisal of the many relevant cases around the world, which is appropriate for producing a large-scale synopsis and reducing needs for significant research funding.
Complimentary readings, templates and other relevant information will be posted on this website as the cluster activity shapes up.
If you would like to get involved in the cluster, please contact us at email@example.com.
|Additional Reading Material||
Schuhbauer, A. and Sumaila, U. R. (2016). Economic viability and small-scale fisheries — A review. Ecological Economics 124, 69–75. Doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.01.018
|How to contribute||
1. Complete the Economic viability comparative assessment. For more details, see the Research Questions section above.
2. Submit an in-depth case study. For more details, see the Economic Viability framework.
3. SSF profiles
One of the main commitments of TBTI is to make information about SSF comprehensive and available to everyone. The SSF profile in ISSF is developed with this in mind. Currently, ISSF is running the SSF profiles drive to complete the first 200 profiles. We would like to encourage all cluster members to help with this task by completing the fillable form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t expect that you will have all the required information so please consult colleagues or literature as necessary.
Rashid Sumaila, University of British Columbia, Canada
Jyothis Sathyapalan, Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), India
Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University, Canada