While community service organization (CSO) engagement has been a strong feature of participatory research by WorldFish across focal countries, the project facilitates this integration at a more programmatic level, providing a stronger mechanism to influence planning. The communication strategy and key communication outputs from this project will greatly strengthen the ability of WorldFish and partners to promote the diverse and often irreplaceable benefits of small-scale fisheries (SSF) at global, regional, and local levels.


The project aims to create enabling environments for recent policies and investments in small-scale fisheries that will affect development outcomes such as improved environmental management, food, and nutrition security, poverty alleviation, equitable and good governance.


Fish is a critical contributor to global food and nutrition security. Global demand for fish is high and is projected to continue to rise. Aquaculture is now meeting some of that demand but capture fisheries will continue to supply most of the fish consumed in much of the developing world soon. The great majority of these fisheries are small-scale and operate in rivers, lakes and wetlands, and coastal seas.


If we are to sustain and increase the contribution of SSF to poverty reduction and food and nutrition security we must address several interrelated problems. Pressures from within and external to SSF threaten the sustainability and equitable distribution of SSF benefits. The complexity of SSF, both in their ecology and the social and institutional environments they operate in, has thwarted the search for universal solutions. Compounding this, SSF is frequently accounted for poorly (or not at all) by fisheries, development, and environmental policy. This oversight is attributable, in part, to limited understanding of the scale and reach of benefits of SSF and low visibility of the very many people whose livelihoods, nutrition, and health depend on SSF. Whilst donors and organizations have sought to seek solutions, their efforts to date have been piecemeal, unaligned, or even misaligned.


The three corresponding changes this project will enable and facilitate are:

  • Stronger alignment between key global players in their efforts to target improved SSF governance and development outcomes, and demonstration of this through joint commitments targeting collective impact at scale. CSO and NGO organizations will become better equipped to influence policy outcomes.
  • Greater recognition of the size and multiple values of SSF in policy, media and public domains, helping to catalyze more coordinated, strategic, and SSF-responsive investments by development agencies, governments, private sector and regional bodies in support of equitable SSF governance.
  • Uptake and use of an openly accessible MEL system that facilitates a more substantial and robust evidence base to document the pathways and enabling factors to improve SSF governance, and outcomes of policies and investments, accessed and used by SSF stakeholders. This improved knowledge ensures SSF investments are informed and strategic and lead to maximum return on investment.