Small-Scale Fisheries

The impact of COVID-19 on small-scale fisheries.

Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations


The 2020 edition of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture was completed as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic spread around the world. Therefore, the publication makes reference to, but does not address the impacts of, the pandemic on the sector. This addendum is intended to capture these rapidly evolving impacts, and provide a baseline for interventions and policy advice.

The impacts of Covid-19 can be overwhelming. Lock-downs across the world are putting all of us in different, increasingly trying situations. Similarly, small-scale fisheries are facing a growing number of challenges. How exactly are they facing these challenges? And who is there to support them? Physical distancing and quarantine measures are changing the way people interact as part of the far-reaching efforts to stop the spreading of Covid-19. The effects on small-scale fisheries are felt throughout the entire fish chain, from harvesting to processing and marketing.

In this uncharted territory, how are small-scale fishers and their communities coping? What issues are they currently facing? How have they responded to those issues? Who has been involved in providing support to small-scale fishing communities? There are many concerns and challenges as small-scale fishers deal with closed markets, fishing restrictions, and in some cases, a lack of proper support.

Hoping to find answer to these questions, TBTI and OFI are gathering news stories about cooperation and solutions that small-scale fishers and their partners are developing in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


COVID-19: Tuna Industry Experts Outline Impacts

Like many sectors, the tuna fishing industry is facing challenges as a result of the coronavirus. We caught up with four experts to learn how fishers and others are adjusting—and how sustainability is affected. Click below for key insights;



Full article: The COVID-19 Pandemic, Small-Scale Fisheries and Coastal Fishing Communities

Authors: Nathan J. BennettElena M. Finkbeiner,Natalie C. Ban,Dyhia Belhabib,Stacy D. Jupiter,John N. Kittinger,Sangeeta Mangubhai,Joeri Scholtens,David Gill & Patrick Christie


The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread around the world with extensive social and economic effects. This editorial focuses specifically on the implications of the pandemic for small-scale fishers, including marketing and processing aspects of the sector, and coastal fishing communities, drawing from news and reports from around the world. Negative consequences to date have included complete shut-downs of some fisheries, knock-on economic effects from market disruptions, increased health risks for fishers, processors and communities, additional implications for marginalized groups, exacerbated vulnerabilities to other social and environmental stressors, and increased Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing. Though much of the news is dire, there have been some positive outcomes such as food sharing, the revival of local food networks, increases in local sales through direct marketing and deliveries, collective actions to safeguard rights, collaborations between communities and governments, and reduced fishing pressure in some places. While the crisis is still unfolding, there is an urgent need to coordinate, plan and implement effective short- and long-term responses. Thus, we urge governments, development organizations, NGOs, donors, the private sector, and researchers to rapidly mobilize in support of small-scale fishers, coastal fishing communities, and associated civil society organizations, and suggest actions that can be taken by each to help these groups respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19coronavirussmall-scale fisheriescoastal communitiesvulnerability and resilience