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Illuminating Hidden Harvests: The contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development

Executive summary








FAO, Duke University & WorldFish. 2023. Illuminating Hidden Harvests: The contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development  Executive summary. Rome.



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    Book (stand-alone)
    Illuminating Hidden Harvests
    The contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development
    2023
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    Illuminating Hidden Harvests: the contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development (hereinafter IHH) is a global study uncovering the contributions and impacts of small-scale fisheries through a multidisciplinary approach to data collection and analysis. The study provides information that quantifies and improves understanding of the crucial role of small-scale fisheries in the areas of food security and nutrition, sustainable livelihoods, poverty eradication and healthy ecosystems. It also examines gender equality as well as the nature and scope of governance in small-scale fisheries. The IHH study was carried out in support of the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), themselves developed in recognition of the plight of small-scale fishers, fishworkers and associated communities and released as a contribution to the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022. The purpose of this report is to contribute to a more holistic understanding of what small-scale fisheries are, their importance, and why they are essential to efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By using this knowledge wisely within a human rights-based approach in line with the SSF Guidelines, and by empowering small-scale fishers and fishworkers, a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable and resilient small-scale scale fisheries subsector can be achieved. Realizing this goal would benefit hundreds of thousands in fishing communities and society at large. With this in mind, the IHH report is aimed at all those with a stake or an interest in the small-scale fisheries subsector, in particular decision-makers who are concerned with fisheries, poverty eradication, food security and nutrition, and sustainable development more generally. It is also addressed to small-scale fisheries actors themselves and those who support them.
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    Report of the workshop on “How to leverage the Illuminating Hidden Harvests approach for better small-scale fisheries data", Rome, 14–15 March 2023 2024
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    The workshop on How to leverage the Illuminating Hidden Harvests approach for better small-scale fisheries data explored how the results and methodology of the study Illuminating Hidden Harvests: The contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development study (IHH) can be leveraged to support the improvement of small-scale fisheries data, with a view to inform management and policy. The IHH is a global initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Duke University and WorldFish carried out in support of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). The IHH report, published in March 2023, provides new evidence about the benefits, interactions and impacts of small-scale fisheries to inform policy and practice.This workshop focused on sub-Saharan Africa as a starting point; however, in the future, collaboration and support could extend to other regions. The workshop concluded that there is considerable value in both the IHH approach and the data already collected that can be capitalized on, at both national and regional levels, taking country priorities into account. Small-scale fisheries organizations should be further empowered for engagement in relevant policy processes by equipping them with IHH data and information, and partnerships should be sought also outside the fisheries sector. Tailored communication pathways and products for diverse audiences will be needed, including multiple language translations and simplified versions of the IHH report. Using the IHH results and approach wisely will help improve the knowledge on the subsector and contribute to sustainable development.
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    Applying the Illuminating Hidden Harvests approach
    Compiling data on the contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development
    2024
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    This document has been adapted from the research protocol used to compile country case study data and to produce the results summarized in the 2023 report titled Illuminating Hidden Harvests: The contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development (hereafter, IHH study) (FAO, Duke University & WorldFish, 2023). It has also been designed in conjunction with the e-learning course titled Collecting secondary data on small-scale fisheries, and aims to support practitioners and researchers around the world in compiling national and subnational data and assess the contributions and impacts of small-scale fisheries of interest to sustainable development. These contributions of small-scale fisheries are categorized according to the environmental, economic and social (including gender equality and nutrition and food security) dimensions of sustainable development, as well as the governance of small-scale fisheries. The approach to compile IHH data was developed in a way that: (i) is adaptable to each country’s context and data availability; and (ii) is comprehensive yet straightforward and cost-effective. While originally designed to be conducted at the national level, this approach can and should be modified as desired to fit different scales of study, and to respond to the particular needs and priorities of individual researchers’ regions of interest.As the name implies, the approach was designed to compile existing data on small-scale fisheries, and not to collect it. Rather, this approach only reinforces the importance of collecting more detailed data specific to small-scale fisheries (for example, as distinct from large-scale fisheries, aquaculture and recreational fisheries), in order to help fill the knowledge gap on small-scale fisheries’ contributions to sustainable development. Given the vast diversity of small-scale fisheries in different countries, a standard definition of “small-scale fisheries” is not prescribed here, nor in the IHH study; researchers should refer to the definitions used in each country context. However, to better characterize fisheries and the differences among them that often contribute to local definitions of small or large-scale fisheries, the IHH study and this approach used a fisheries activity characterization matrix. This tool provides a characterization of the small-scale fisheries subsector at the country level and allows researchers to assess the “scale” of small-scale fishing activities in a more relational manner, thus avoiding the imposition of fixed definitions.

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