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Economic viability and small-scale fisheries — A review

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  • Schuhbauer, Anna
  • Sumaila, U. Rashid

Abstract

Globally, over 90% of all fishing vessels and about 22 million fishers are considered small-scale. Despite their high numbers, small-scale fisheries are often understudied. They are usually economically and politically marginalized, and therefore vulnerable to large-scale threats (e.g., globalized markets). To support this sector and contribute to its sustainability, we argue that it is fundamental to understand how economically viable small-scale fisheries are. Hence, the main objective of this article is to critically review and describe the current discourse on the economic viability of small-scale fisheries. We find that currently, economic viability is mainly equated with financial viability, where profitability is the goal. In consideration of socio-economic aspects, the maintenance of nonnegative net benefits to society is often not considered in current notions of economic viability. While these shortcomings have been acknowledged in some of the existing literature, our review shows that they have not yet been addressed comprehensively. We therefore conclude that it is necessary to develop or expand current methods to better take into account social aspects when assessing the economic viability of small-scale fisheries. This would help find solutions to make these fisheries less vulnerable and better equipped to face large-scale processes of change.

Suggested Citation

  • Schuhbauer, Anna & Sumaila, U. Rashid, 2016. "Economic viability and small-scale fisheries — A review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 69-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:124:y:2016:i:c:p:69-75
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.01.018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Yamazaki, Satoshi & Resosudarmo, Budy P. & Girsang, Wardis & Hoshino, Eriko, 2018. "Productivity, Social Capital and Perceived Environmental Threats in Small-Island Fisheries: Insights from Indonesia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 62-75.
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    5. Cuilleret, Mathieu & Doyen, Luc & Gomes, Hélène & Blanchard, Fabian, 2022. "Resilience management for coastal fisheries facing with global changes and uncertainties," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 634-656.
    6. Pedro Gajardo & Luc Doyen, 2018. "Viability standards and multi-criteria maximin," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2018-04, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    7. Doyen, L. & Armstrong, C. & Baumgärtner, S. & Béné, C. & Blanchard, F. & Cissé, A.A. & Cooper, R. & Dutra, L.X.C. & Eide, A. & Freitas, D. & Gourguet, S. & Gusmao, F. & Hardy, P.-Y. & Jarre, A. & Litt, 2019. "From no whinge scenarios to viability tree," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 183-188.
    8. Luc Doyen & Christophe Béné, 2018. "A generic metric of resilience from resistance to transformation," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2018-03, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    9. Kiyama, Shoichi & Yamazaki, Satoshi, 2022. "Product switching and efficiency in a declining small-scale fishery," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    10. Violaine Tarizzo & Eric Tromeur & Olivier Thébaud & Richard Little & Sarah Jennings & Luc Doyen, 2018. "Risk averse policies foster bio-economic sustainability in mixed fisheries," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2018-07, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    11. Bevilacqua, Ana Helena V. & Angelini, Ronaldo & Steenbeek, Jeroen & Christensen, Villy & Carvalho, Adriana R., 2019. "Following the Fish: The Role of Subsistence in a Fish-based Value Chain," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 326-334.
    12. Lancker, Kira & Fricke, Lorena & Schmidt, Jörn O., 2019. "Assessing the contribution of artisanal fisheries to food security: A bio-economic modeling approach," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-1.

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