Artisanal fishing

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Stilts fishermen, Sri Lanka

Artisanal fishing (or traditional/subsistence fishing) are various small-scale, low-technology, low-capital, fishing practices undertaken by individual fishing households (as opposed to commercial companies).[1] Many of these households are of coastal or island ethnic groups. These households make short (rarely overnight) fishing trips close to the shore. Their produce is usually not processed and is mainly for local consumption. Artisan fishing uses traditional fishing techniques such as rod and tackle, fishing arrows and harpoons, cast nets, and small (if any) traditional fishing boats.

Artisan fishing may be undertaken for both commercial and subsistence reasons. It contrasts with large-scale modern commercial fishing practices in that it is often less wasteful and less stressful on fish populations than modern industrial fishing.

Artisan fishing boats and gears


A traditional dug out canoe between 3–18 meters long is used in Nigeria for artisanal fishing. Artisanal fishers in this area use gear that included, "cast nets, handlines, basket traps, longlines, set gillnets and beach and purse seines."[2]


Fishing vessels used in Sudan include from the sharoaq, feluka and murkab al hadeed. Equipment varies by region and includes fixed nets, drift nets, seine nets, long line and cast nets.[3]



Hundreds of millions of people around the world rely on artisanal fisheries to live. Artisanal fishing is critically important for not only food, but for jobs, income, nutrition, food security, sustainable livelihoods, and poverty alleviation as well.[4][5] Artisanal fisheries are the predominant form of fisheries in "tropical developing countries" such as Nigeria.[2]

See more


  1. ^ Garcia, S.M. (2009). "Glossary". In Cochrane, K.; Garcia, S.M. A fishery managers handbook. FAO and Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 473–505.
  2. ^ a b Inoni, O.E; Oyaide, W.J (2007). "Socio-Economic Analysis of Artisanal Fishing in the South Agro-Ecological Zone of Delta State, Nigeria". Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica. 40 (4).
  3. ^ Anton, Paula; Curtis, Lori (2017). "Livelihoods of small-scale fishers along the Nile River in Sudan" (PDF). FAO. FAO. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  4. ^ Whitty, T. "Artisanal Fisheries Impacts". Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Small-scale Fisheries". FI Institutional Websites. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. Retrieved 31 March 2018.


  • FAO: Definition: Artisanal fisheries
  • Béné, C; Macfadyen, G; Allison, E H (2007) Increasing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to poverty alleviation and food security FAO Fisheries Technical Paper T481. ISBN 978-92-5-105664-6
  • Diegues, Antonio Carlos (2002) Sea Tenure, traditional knowledge and management among brazilian artisanal fishermen. NUPAUB, University of São Paulo. Retrieved 25 April 2008.
  • Pauly, D (2006) Major trends in small-scale marine fisheries, with emphasis on developing countries, and some implications for the social sciences Maritime Studies (MAST) 4(2): 7-22.
  • Tietze, U; Siar, S; Upare, Suchitra M and Upare, M A (2007) Livelihood and micro-enterprise development opportunities for women in coastal fishing communities in India FAO Fisheries Circulars C1021.

External links

  • OAS: Report on fisheries including artisan fishing
  • FAO: Report on artisan fishing in the wake of the 2004 tsunami
  • World Fish Center: Productive and resilient Small-scale Fisheries
  • Artisanal Fisheries ACIAR Project FIS/2001/079
  • "Los Hombres del Lago", a documentary film by Aaron I. Naar presenting the story of the smallest Bolivian fishing community of Uru-Muratos, Puñaca Tintamaria. Narrated by the community’s ex-leader, Daniel Moricio Choque, the movie recounts the history of their community, customs, and current problems: their continuous poverty, lack of land and representation, the contamination of Lake Poopó, and the impact of global warming. See a 12 minutes fragment from the film on YouTube.
  • Subsistence: Hearing before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United States Senate, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, to Examine Wildlife Management Authority Within the State of Alaska under the Alaska National Interest Lands Act and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, September 19, 2013
  • What is Artisan Fishing[permanent dead link]
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