Illuminating Hidden Harvests: the contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development (hereinafter IHH) is a global study uncovering the contributions and impacts of small-scale fisheries through a multidisciplinary approach to data collection and analysis. The study provides information that quantifies and improves understanding of the crucial role of small-scale fisheries in the areas of food security and nutrition, sustainable livelihoods, poverty eradication and healthy ecosystems. It also examines gender equality as well as the nature and scope of governance in small-scale fisheries.

The IHH study was carried out in support of the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), themselves developed in recognition of the plight of small-scale fishers, fishworkers and associated communities and released as a contribution to the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022.

The purpose of this report is to contribute to a more holistic understanding of what small-scale fisheries are, their importance, and why they are essential to efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By using this knowledge wisely within a human rights-based approach in line with the SSF Guidelines, and by empowering small-scale fishers and fishworkers, a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable and resilient small-scale scale fisheries subsector can be achieved. Realizing this goal would benefit hundreds of thousands in fishing communities and society at large.

With this in mind, the IHH report is aimed at all those with a stake or an interest in the small-scale fisheries subsector, in particular decision-makers who are concerned with fisheries, poverty eradication, food security and nutrition, and sustainable development more generally. It is also addressed to small-scale fisheries actors themselves and those who support them.