Monday August 29, 2022

Science Daily

Roughly half of all global seafood is caught by artisanal fishers — individuals who operate on small, often subsistence scales, and who generally fish a short distance from the coast. Though diminutive in comparison to larger-scale commercial operations, these enterprises are essential to the food security and livelihoods of their communities, and their sheer number makes artisanal fishers an important sector to monitor and manage, as well as to advocate for, as the global fishing industry continues to grow and climate change causes shifts in their food supply.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” said conservation professional and academic Juan Andrés Silva, formerly a researcher with the Environmental Markets Lab (emLab) in UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. “You can call them ‘small-scale,’ but their importance and impact are huge.” Despite this impact, artisanal fishers, he said, are “a very invisible sector,” and one worth trying to get a sense of.

In an effort to do so, Silva and his colleagues embarked on an experiment to gauge how well small-scale fishers would take to adopting vessel tracking technology originally developed for larger oceangoing ships. The researchers partnered with the organization Global Fishing Watch for this project, and their results are published in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management.

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