The small-scale fisheries and energy nexus. Opportunities for renewable energy interventions


FAO Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment (OCB) and FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture (NFI) divisions are proud to present their latest report, "The Small-Scale Fisheries and Energy Nexus: Opportunities for Renewable Energy Interventions". This report sheds light on the intersection of energy and fish value chains, as well as the potential for renewable energy interventions.

The report highlights the complexity and interdependence of energy and agrifood systems, particularly in terms of fish value chains. All actors within these value chains rely on energy at every stage, while current energy usage in agrifood systems contributes to one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, introducing sustainable energy interventions can help modernize fish value chains and meet current and future energy demands.

Small-scale fisheries are a vital component of global fishery systems. They provide employment to millions, supported by its own supply chain and associated services. Although statistics are still imprecise. the general understanding is that half of the world’s 51 million fishers work in small-scale fisheries. These accounts for nearly half of global fish production and consumption in developing countries. Unfortunately, the reliance on fossil fuels in the fishery value chain means that they are significant contributors to climate change. The challenge therefore is to ensure that energy access in the fisheries value chain is increased in a way that minimizes its impact on climate change and is generally sustainable.

This report examines the energy required for the fishery value chain and the challenges inherent in transitioning to renewable energy sources. Renewable energy solutions such as stable, sustainable, and green energy can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide small-scale fishery value chains with access to sustainable energy. Solar energy, for instance, can power multiple processes such as fishing operations and aquaculture equipment including feeders, pumps, aerators, and lighting. Similarly, biofuels can potentially replace fossil fuels for powering vending carts and fish distribution using motorbikes.

Finally, the report identifies specific renewable energy interventions suitable for small-scale fishery value chains. Most of these interventions are based on country profiles published by the FAO Fisheries Division and can be broadly classified into three categories: interventions already applied to fish value chains, interventions implemented in different value chains but adaptable to fisheries, and interventions that could theoretically be applied to fisheries. This report provides examples for each of these interventions; as well as examples of the technical specifications and costs associated with renewable energy-based equipment suitable for use in a fish value chains.