From catch to consumer
Supply chain: capture to consumption
Small-scale fisheries, often also referred to as artisanal fisheries, are difficult to define unambiguously, as the term tends to apply to different circumstances in different countries. In general, they are traditional fisheries involving fishing households (as opposed to commercial companies), using relatively small amounts of capital and energy, relatively small fishing vessels (if any), making short fishing trips close to shore, mainly for local consumption.
The vital role of small-scale fisheries in meeting the world’s food needs cannot be understated. The connections between harvest, handling, processing, distribution and consumption – the supply chain – are essential to understand in determining the role of small-scale fisheries and in demonstrating the diverse range of activities and people involved in the process.
For seafood products, including capture (or culture), processing, distribution and marketing, the technologies involved are often very simple, making small-scale fisheries and its supply chain very accessible for many millions of poorer people who have very limited assets but can acquire skills and opportunities.
But the sector is not limited to traditional tools, materials and techniques, as innovation and technical development takes place at many levels and in many different ways. Nor is the supply chain bound to traditional connections and markets as small-scale fisheries take part together with the more commercial sector in an increasingly dynamic and competitive environment.