The Gift of Community

More Essays on Human Experiences of Small-Scale Fisheries

Written by Svein Jentoft

This book is a follow up, or a continuation rather, of the one I published in 2019 as part of the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) Global Book Series, titled ‘Life Above Water: Essays on human experiences of small-scale fisheries’. The design and purpose of the current book are the same. The introduction in the 2019 book could also work here, even if this book has a sharper focus on communities…


All chapters focus on small-scale fisheries as a socio-economic and cultural activity, as a social scientist would write them. Small-scale fisheries are all those things, and they are intricately connected and played out in a community setting. The aim of the book is to explain how they come together and must be seen as a whole. I discuss what this means for the way small-scale fisheries work and how they must be governed…


To exist, small-scale fisheries communities need fish and fishers. There are also things that communities offer that small-scale fisheries cannot do without. These are the gifts of community that I talk about in this book. They are the things the small-scale fisheries get by being embedded in local communities. The gift of community is not part of a transaction; it does not come with a price-tag. The community’s main purpose is not to serve the fishing industry but to serve the people living there… The gift of community is, as with family, neither charity nor luxury, but a necessity like the food the fisher brings home. The gift of the community makes small-scale fisheries possible.

The book is available for free, as an e-book in two sizes: smaller (2MB) and larger (10MB) file.

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