Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread around the world with extensive social and economic effects for the small-scale fisheries sector and coastal communities. Much of the news is dismal for the more than 100 million people working as small-scale fishers or in post-harvest jobs. Documented negative consequences have included complete shut-downs, market disruptions, increased health risks, further marginalization, exacerbated vulnerabilities, and increased illegal fishing. Some positive outcomes have also emerged such as food sharing, the revival of local food networks, increases in local sales, collective actions to safeguard rights, collaborations between communities and governments, and reduced fishing pressure in some places. Yet, we are concerned that the collective response thus far is insufficient to meet the scale and nature of the impacts that are being experienced by the small-scale fisheries sector. Thus, we urge governments, development organizations, NGOs, donors, the private sector, and researchers to rapidly mobilize in support of small-scale fishers and coastal fishing communities
Recommendations: Suggested responses include:
- Governments and development organizations can protect workers, safeguard supply chains, augment social and health services, provide economic relief, and prioritize re-opening small-scale fisheries.
- NGOs can aggregate insights, mobilize financial resources and personnel, support market development, advocate for SSFs, and coordinate activities.
- Donors can identify options to support, re-orient funding programs, be flexible with already allocated funds, and target funds to support SSF.
- The private sector can protect the safety of workers, strengthen social safeguards, source from SSFs, and ensure market access.
- Researchers can research social impacts, identify solutions, communicate recommendations, support advocacy, and re-orient research projects and funds.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having substantial impacts on the small-scale fisheries sector globally. Thus, we urge governments, development organizations, NGOs, donors, the private sector, and researchers to rapidly mobilize in support of small-scale fishers and coastal fishing communities.
*For more information, please refer to the following open access paper: Bennett, N. J., Finkbeiner, E., Ban, N. C., Belhabib, D., Jupiter, S. D., Kittinger, J. N., Mangubhai, S., Scholtens, J., Gill, D., & Christie, P. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic, small-scale fisheries and coastal fishing communities. Coastal Management. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2020.1766937
A PDF of this Policy Brief can be found here: POLICY BRIEF – Mobilizing in support of small-scale fisheries impacted by COVID-19
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