Thinking Big about Small-Scale Fisheries in Canada

Thinking Big about Small-Scale Fisheries in Canada

Edited by Evan J. Andrews & Christine Knott

The e-book brings together over 100 authors from across Canada to share stories, perspectives, and research about small-scale fisheries in this country. There are contributors from small-scale fishing communities, civil society, government, and academia.

The book will illustrate the diversity of small-scale fisheries in provinces and territories across Canada, including what they are and how they are doing. As such, the chapters will demonstrate that small-scale fisheries in Canada exist and that they matter to communities on the coasts, rivers’ edges, by the lakes, and everything in between.

Importantly, e-book shows that Canadian small-scale fisheries are not a problem. These fisheries successfully navigate the complex and uncertain challenges of social-ecological changes in aquatic systems and their governance. They are, and they offer, key solutions for a range of issues challenging governance of aquatic systems across this country.

Over the upcoming months, we will be releasing other chapters from the e-book in preparation for an official book launch so stay tuned!

...‘Small-scale fisheries’ are receiving increased attention. Fisheries are one of the oldest statutorily-regulated industries in Canada, with the first Fisheries Act coming into force in 1868, the year after Canada was formed. Since that time, Canada has expanded and diversified, acquiring provinces and territories, and laying claim to the inland and coastal fisheries that come along with them. Canada’s changing geography has occurred in the context of shifting fisheries markets and market access, increased efficiency in fishing technologies, and differing public opinions on who should have access to the fisheries and when. Yet, after more than 150 years of developing fisheries governance, Canada’s current statutory record is relatively scant on the governance of small-scale fisheries...

...West Coast fisheries access and decision making have become concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, with fishers, First Nations and other communities marginalized. Failed policies need to be corrected, prioritizing ownership for those who participate, engaging Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers to inform decision making, limiting corporate and foreign ownership and control, and adding domestic markets to export focused fisheries. This chapter analyzes the history and present status of efforts to move licensing policy in this direction...

Map of British Columbia coast with locations where surveys were conducted (size of the circle indicates the number of surveys conducted in each location. Map reproduced from Bennett et al. (2021) with permission.

Small-scale commercial fisheries are essential to thriving coastal communities, yet the future of such fisheries is uncertain. The purpose of our research was to understand the perceived well-being of independent small-scale fishers who own their own enterprises in British Columbia, Canada. We developed a survey to understand perceptions of well-being of fishers, including quantitative questions and indicators on participants’ perceptions of their life satisfaction, satisfaction with fisheries, and market and non-market measures of well-being. Overall, the 118 fishers who responded to our survey were fairly satisfied with life, and quite satisfied with fishing livelihoods, although more so with non-market benefits than from fishing income...

Area A crab fishing in the Hecate Strait. Photo credit: Chelsey Elli.

...Understanding how small-scale fisheries management in Canada is gendered is necessary to create inclusive and equitable management. Recognizing this need, the following section illustrates the importance of including gender in small-scale fisheries management and the current barriers various groups of women face in participating fully in management spaces. We focus specifically on the gendered experience of women, due to the historic and on-going discrimination and inequalities faced by women. While this review focuses on the experience and barriers of women compared to that of men, we acknowledge that gender is about more than women, and that a full understanding of gender in small-scale fisheries must explore the power dynamics and relationships between men, women, and other gender identities...

About the editors

Evan J. Andrews

Evan Andrews is a scientist working at the intersections of governance, social-ecological change, and transdisciplinarity, largely in the contexts for small-scale fisheries. He is the lead editor of Thinking Big about Small-Scale Fisheries in Canada and co-founder of SSF-Can. He has a PhD in Social and Ecological Sustainability. Currently, he is a Senior Research Fellow in Too Big To Ignore: A Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Ocean Frontier Institute Module I, both based at Memorial University.

Christine Knott

Dr. Christine Knott is an interdisciplinary scholar with degrees in Anthropology (BA), Women’s Studies (BA and MWS), Sociology (PhD). She is an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University. She is also an Ocean Nexus Center Research Associate and a collaborator with the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) FOCI project. Dr. Knott’s current research builds on her previous work aiming to better understand the broader social and ecological ramifications of current gendered and racialized labour processes within resource extraction and processing industries. Her research aims to investigate interactions among resource dependent communities, government policies, global corporate capitalism, labour mobility regimes, and animal enclosure and commodification to better understand the broader social and ecological ramifications within fishing, aquaculture, and seafood processing industries.

TBTI Global Book Series

Thinking Big about Small-Scale Fisheries in Canada is the tenth book published under TBTI Global Book Series. This publication series aims to highlight why we need to pay close attention to small-scale fisheries. The series will be of use to anyone interested in learning more about small-scale fisheries, especially about their important contribution to livelihoods, well-being, poverty alleviation and food security, as well as to those who are keen to help raise profile of small-scale fisheries in the policy realm.

How to cite

Andrews, E. J., & Knott, C. (Ed.) 2023. Thinking Big about Small-Scale Fisheries in Canada. TBTI Global Publication Series, St. John's, NL,Canada. ISBN: 978-1-7773202-9-4