Why an International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture?

The global food system faces many complex challenges, including hunger, malnutrition and diet-related diseases, an ever-growing global population that needs sufficient and healthy food, the need to reduce food loss and waste, the depletion of natural resources and effects of climate change, as well as the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants are fundamental, essential and indispensable foods eaten by people around the world as part of healthy diets, cultural heritage and culinary tradition. Small-scale artisanal fishers and fish farmers produce a large portion of this food, and as such, IYAFA 2022 is an opportunity to highlight the importance of small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture for our food systems, livelihoods, culture and the environment. Small-scale fishers, fish farmers and fish workers hold enormous potential to promote transformative changes in how, by whom and for whom fish and fishery products are produced, processed and distributed – with positive ripple effects felt throughout the global food system. 

IYAFA 2022 aims to raise awareness on the role of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, strengthen science-policy interaction, empower stakeholders to take action, and to build new and strengthen existing partnerships. IYAFA 2022 can also act as a springboard towards implementing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related documents, like the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, and take concrete actions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we enter the last decade of action to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  It also falls within the UN Decade of Family Farming, the two observances will reinforce one another in providing greater visibility to small-scale artisanal fishers, fishfarmers and fish workers.  

Let’s work together for a world in which small-scale artisanal fishers, fishfarmers and fish workers are fully recognized and empowered to continue their contributions for human well-being, food systems and poverty alleviation through the responsible and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources. 

A Global Action Plan for plain sailing

The Global Action Plan (GAP) of the IYAFA 2022 aims at building global momentum to accelerate the support required to bring small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture to the forefront of societal attention. The GAP outlines a series of indicative and interconnected actions from the global to the local level that are mutually reinforcing in the pillars of work.

The GAP provides guidance for the international community, including local and national governments, bodies of the United Nations, non-governmental organisations, international financial institutions and other international mechanisms, regional bodies, producer organizations, academic and research institutes, civil society organizations, and the private sector.

The expected outputs fall into four categories:

Raised awareness

Sharing accessible information and key messages on small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture with a broad range of audiences, including through the organization of and participation in relevant global, regional and national events.

Strengthened science-policy interface

Collectively gather and disseminate transdisciplinary evidence in a participatory manner to generate required information and knowledge on specific aspects of small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture, that is then used to support decision-making and policy processes in support of small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture.

Empowered stakeholders

Enabling small-scale artisanal fishers, fishfarmers and fishworkers and their organizations to engage as equal partners in all relevant decision-making processes. This would also include working with legislators and government agencies in the formulation and adoption of laws, regulations, policies, strategies, programs and projects.


Build new and strengthen existing partnerships, both among small-scale actors’ organizations as well as with other partners from government, research bodies, NGOs, the private sector, regional organizations and others, at all levels.