Small-scale fisheries (SSF) make an important contribution to nutrition, food security, sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation. However, too often the financial compensation they receive for their work is meager. Several factors affect the capacity of small-scale fishers to sell their fish, receive fair prices, and to add value to their catches. For instance, existing national, regional or local regulations, globalized marketing schemes, and other trade barriers may restrict opportunities for small-scale fishers to benefit fully from the exchange. Yet, there are successful examples that we can learn from.
Most countries worldwide are committed to sustainable fisheries. Often the development of a sustainable fishing industry is mentioned, at least in developed countries. However, sustainability considerations often focus on the production system itself and ignore issues around markets and the value chain. This cluster is interested in the supply chain from catch to markets in general, to know how local SSF catches interact with those from large-scale fleets, and how world markets impact on local fishing strategies. The role of middlemen in SSF marketing cannot be ignored, and special focus must be placed on how SSF organizations enter into markets. Preliminary research lets us assume that the role of small-scale fishing organizations is essential to take advantage of new market opportunities; for instance, developing labelling schemes for SSF products. Furthermore, local fresh fish obtained with sustainable gears frequently is not adequately differentiated from the catches of industrial fleets or from fish entering the market refrigerated or frozen. Women’s role in the marketing of fishing products has historically been extremely important in many coastal societies, and is still the case in many places. We need to emphasize the relevance of this role and the changes taking place in many coastal areas in the last decades.
For information on participation, see the “How to contribute” section below.
The market cluster aims to analyze current strategies adopted by small-scale fishers in order to market their fish, to understand their challenges and shortcomings, and to explore the possibilities for improving the current situation. Specifically, the objectives of the cluster are to:
-Analyze the marketing channels and strategies for SSF products and their outcomes, including labeling schemes, alternative food networks and direct fish trade;
-Examine the role of women and SSF organizations in fish marketing and ways to enhance their involvement and success;
-Indicate how technological innovations may help to improve market shares and benefits to SSF people;
-Devise strategies to better differentiate SSF products from the catches coming from world markets, large-scale fisheries or aquaculture; and
-Make appropriate policy recommendations based on these findings.
Knowledge about SSF markets is scarce, due partly to the huge diversity of marketing strategies, with local market conditions forcing specific behavior patterns. In order to achieve the objectives set by the cluster, we need to collect basic information about SSF market systems and successful strategies, guided by the following questions:
Marketing channels for SSF catches
1. Who sells the catches? (e.g., fishers, women, fishers’ wives, fishers’ organization or cooperative, other)
2. a) Who buys the product (approx. %)? (e.g., local people through direct sell, middlemen, supermarkets, fish shop, industries)
2. b) What are the exact steps of the chain? i.e. what happens to a fish/shellfish product from “sea to plate”? (g., middle man buy 50% – sell half to fish shops and half to supermarkets)
3. Who are the consumers and where are they? (e.g., mainly local people, in the next city, somewhere in the country, regional market, international trade)? Why it is sold in this way (if any)? (e.g., due to convenience, because this market offers the better price)
4. Prices paid to fishers for main species and how/why does it fluctuate (if at all)?
Marketing strategies for SSF catches and outcomes
5. SSF catches are well differentiated in the market from large-scale or world-market fisheries?
6. Are there any initiatives for paying good/fair prices to fishers for SSF catches?
7. How different is the price paid to fishers from the price paid by consumers for the main species (if the information is available)?
First sale price? (in auction); Average final price? (e.g., less than 10% of final price; 10-20% of final price, 20-50% of final price; more than 50% of final price)
8. What are the most important problems in marketing of SSF products?
9. How women and/or fisher organizations have been involved in the marketing strategies?
10. What has the previous collective action experience of fisher organizations been in other areas? What alliances, if any, were developed with other actors in the value chain?
11. What problems surged, and how were they managed to facilitate success?
12. Can the successful marketing experience be scaled-up? If yes, how?
The final outcome for this cluster would be a better understanding of the marketing systems and strategies for SSF. One of the deliverables will be a database of case studies about market opportunities based on the research questions mentioned above. We aim to synthesize lessons from the empirical evidence collected and use that as a basis for the development of innovation strategies for SSF marketing. We also plan to publish a special volume in a journal about market opportunities for SSF, with detailed/developed case studies contribution.
|Timeline / Work plan||
We call on all individuals or institutions, including universities, research institutes and community-based organizations from different geographical locations interested in contributing to this exciting thematic cluster by actively participating in the generation of these outcomes. Case study contributions should be based on ongoing or recently concluded work.
If you would like to get involved in the cluster and learn more about it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|How to contribute||
1. Rapid assessment of market
The market cluster aims to analyze current strategies adopted by small-scale fishers in order to market their fish, to understand their challenges and shortcomings, and to explore the possibilities for improving the current situation.
This rapid assessment survey is an important starting point towards reaching these objectives. As such, we are inviting small-scale fishers, practitioners and researchers to complete a survey. The analysis will be global and comparative and will be weighted to reflect the level of knowledge and familiarity of the respondents.
To find out more about the assessment and to contribute your data, download the Market opportunities_Rapid Assesment template. The completed template should be sent to email@example.com as an attachment.
2. 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.
Jose Pascual, University of La Laguna , Spain
Cristina Pita, University of Aberdeen, UK
Helga Josupeit, Independent consultant
Joonas Plaan, Memorial University, Canada