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International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture closes with many concrete results. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) recently marked the close of a global year-long campaign focused on small-scale artisanal fishers, fish farmers and fish workers, underlining the need to keep the momentum going.

With over 260 events held in 68 countries, the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 (IYAFA),“celebrated the millions of people working in small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture – including some 45 million women small-scale fishers – who produce 40% of all the fish we eat,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said at the closing ceremony, adding: “They are stewards of valuable ecosystems, and of longstanding traditions and cultures.”

Small in scale, big in value

Mostly carried out by families, sometimes with a handful of workers, small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture (or fish and seafood farming) add up to a massive subsector. Small-scale fisheries provide livelihoods for nearly half a billion people globally – 95 percent of them operating in the global south.

Yet the workforce includes some of the communities most vulnerable to environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, climate impacts and economic shocks, as they contribute to the management of aquatic resources in the world’s oceans, rivers and lakes.

To raise awareness of their role, the FAO-led campaign, supported by a wide array of partners, helped forge and strengthen partnerships among small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture workers and other stakeholders. Examples of this are the Ibero-American Network for Small-Scale Artisanal Fishing (RIPAPE) and the Maghreb and North African Platform for Artisanal Fishery.

An important body of new research carried out during IYAFA 2022 has added to our knowledge about sustainable small-scale fisheries, including the recently launched Illuminating Hidden Harvests report, by FAO, Duke University and World Fish, which investigates the contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development.

The IYAFA 2022 Final Report highlights the significant number of declarations, calls to action and statements made by partners, at national, regional and global level, as well as providing recommendations to further support the subsector. These include the areas of environmental, social and economic sustainability, governance, gender equality and equity, food security and nutrition, resilience and the participation of youth.

Aligned with Blue Transformation

All these recommendations are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and FAO’s aspiration of the 4 Betters – Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life, leaving no one behind. This is supported by FAO’s Blue Transformation vision to change the way the world manages, uses and conserves its aquatic resources to end hunger and poverty.

Although IYAFA 2022 is ending, “it should not be the end, but a new beginning where we continue to amplify the voices of small-scale artisanal fishers and continue to support the development of inclusive small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture national plans and strategies,” the FAO Director-General said.

Keeping the momentum 

Taking forward the momentum and support generated by IYAFA 2022, we must build on established instruments , including the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries, Qu added.

Among those also participating in the event were Abdallah H. Ulega, Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Tanzania; Bärbel Kofler, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany (via video message); Nedwa Moctar Nech, Maghreb and North Africa Platform of Artisanal Fishery and Aquaculture; Munir Md Mujibul Haque, member of the International Planning Committee Working Group on Fisheries; Elisa Morgera, Director, One Ocean Hub; Alberto Miti, Associate Director, The Lexicon.

FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo closed the event, acknowledging the engagement and commitment of the many partners and supporters  who made IYAFA 2022 a resounding success. The IYAFA Steering Committee was chaired by Peru, while the European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) provided funding support to FAO for the celebration of the year.

A  video screened at the ceremony highlighted IYAFA celebrations over the year and around the world, .


– Small scale fishers produce at least 40 percent of the global fisheries catch

– Around 45 million women participate in small scale fisheries, or four in ten fishers

– Marine catch amounts to 68 percent of small-scale fisheries while 32 percent comes from inland waters.

– 492 million people depend at least partially on small-scale fisheries for their livelihoods

– Small-scale fishers and fish workers account for 90 percent of those working worldwide in global capture fisheries value chains

– The fish provided by small-scale fisheries is essential for healthy diets, providing protein and fatty acids and micronutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, selenium and zinc

– A survey of 400 small-scale fishery producers’ organisations found 90 percent committed to greater sustainability and 60 percent to greater human well-being

FAO’s work in fisheries and aquaculture promotes the effective management of aquatic living resources and the development of capacities to ensure equitable outcomes for all. It is geared towards bringing about a Blue Transformation, a vision committed to building sustainability and resilience. Read more about FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture work here.