Small-scale fisheries (SSF) play a unique—frequently hidden—role in assuring nutrition and food security in today’s world. This is even more important for the future. As FAO points out, more than two billion people, a quarter of the world’s population, are food insecure. ‘Zero hunger’ continues to be an important Sustainable Development Goal. Provided adequate support, SSF will continue playing this.

For this, we must highlight the sector’s contribution to nutrition and food security. In collaboration with its numerous partners, this campaign pay special attention to how SSF sector adds to the four dimensions of food security. One, food availability. Two, access to food, with a focus on price and income. Three, food quality. And, four, the stability of supply over time. The contributions of SSF to these, like many other aspects of the sector, are largely undocumented. We are still in the process of understanding them, their scope and intensity.

The SSF sector plays a dual role in nutrition and food security. First, it ensures that the approximately 200 million people—fishers, processors, traders, transporters and many others—are able to sustain themselves, enjoying their fundamental human rights to a better standard of living. The second role is in supplying aquatic foods for large rural and urban populations. Most small-scale and artisanal fishers sell a major portion of their produce to traders, who transport it to markets both adjacent to coasts and inland. In inland contexts, both wild-caught native fish and sustainably farmed herbivorous species provide bio-available protein, vitamins and minerals for local communities, including indigenous peoples.

SSF communities face many challenges in maintaining their livelihoods and sourcing their food. In particular, inequitable access to resources and markets. SSF networks do serve diverse domestic and international markets. Yet their major contribution goes unnoticed: providing low-income populations with a variety of affordable aquatic foods that cater to local tastes and food traditions. This campaign addresses the multiple dimensions of food security in fisheries, raising the profile of the SSF sector in related international processes.

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