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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI), at its twenty-fifth session, recognized that small-scale fishing communities are faced with an array of serious problems. These problems include rapid population growth, migration of populations, overexploitation of resources, lack of alternative sources of employment, displacement in coastal areas due to industrial development and tourism, pollution and environmental degradation. In the context of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), the Committee requested FAO to provide guidance on increasing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and poverty alleviation.

Article 10 of the CCRF and the FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries No. 3 set out principles and standards for the integration of fisheries into coastal area management and specify the broad socio-economic and demographic parameters to be taken into consideration.

The guidelines and case studies presented in this publication go one step further and specify empirically verifiable indicators that can be used for the identification of socio-economic and demographic issues, problems and opportunities in coastal and aquatic resources management and that can further be used for monitoring the impact of management measures on the socioeconomic well-being of fishing communities. The guidelines also identify data sources and methods for collection of the data.

As women and men play different roles and are affected differently by management decisions, their special roles, interests and needs must be recognized and considered. For this reason, the information to be collected must be gender sensitive and gender-disaggregated.

It is hoped that the various stakeholders in fisheries and aquatic resource management - i.e. fisheries development agencies, fisherfolk cooperatives, women’s associations, fisheries and resource management councils and non-governmental organizations involved in fisheries and coastal resource management, will make use of the guidelines. It is also hoped that this will contribute to a better consideration of the problems faced by small-scale fishing communities and ultimately to a better contribution of these communities to food security and poverty alleviation.

Jeremy Turner
Chief, Fishery Technology Service
Fishery Industries Division
FAO Fisheries Department

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