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Small-scale fish harvesting

Most small-scale fisheries are open access in nature and are located in rural areas, on lakes, estuaries, lagoons, and coastal. Small-scale fisheries are highly dynamic, labour-intensive and usually well-integrated with local marketing arrangements.

Mechanical sophistication is rather poor; catch per fishing craft and productivity per fisherman is low; the fishing range is short; political influence is slight; the catch is sold at scattered landing points and often changes with seasonal fluctuations.

Small-scale fisheries generally operate using low capital investment in boat and equipment per fisher on board. Nonetheless, small-scale fishing is not a “subsistence” activity but a series of activities which are capable of generating significant economic exchanges.

Fishing vessels

Within a given region, with homogenous socio-economic characteristics, boats which are smaller size and lower in technological investment per fishers are usually considered small-scale and/ or artisanal. The amount of technology and sophistication ranges from undecked canoes to gillnetters with on-board fish-detection systems.

Fishing techniques

A range of fishing methods also considered small-scale/artisanal require no vessel and involve simple technology. These include beach seines, various cast and lift nets, fishing by hook and line from shore, fish traps and weirs (large and small), and manual harvesting (seaweed, bivalves, crabs, etc.) in coastal zones. Techniques vary enormously from small-scale tuna longlining to shrimp stow net fishing.

In some areas, illegal fishing practices are used resulting in indiscriminate fishing and devastation to the habitat. These range from the use of explosives and poisons to the use of highly destructive fishing gears, methods and techniques by small-scale fishers.

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