Those familiar with small-scale fisheries have undoubtedly come across accusations that blame the sector for many of the problems in fisheries. Because they are seen as inefficient, too many and too messy to manage, they are often associated with problems like overfishing, bycatch, pollution, unsustainable development, and economic burden. While some of these may be true, small-scale fisheries make major contributions in many aspects of society, and through them, many of the problems can be addressed. Getting rid of small-scale fisheries will just make the matters worse.

New narratives about small-scale fisheries are needed – ones that clearly illustrate the values and importance of small-scale fisheries and consider them as key solutions for issues such as sustainability and sustainable development, climate change, economic prosperity, food security, gender equity, cultural identity, rebuilding fisheries, community wellbeing, and Blue Justice, among others. We also need initiatives that seek solutions for the numerous issues affecting small-scale fisheries and promote ways of sharing and scaling-up the success stories. 

From 2022 World Fisheries Day onwards, we are collecting contributions that depict ways in which small-scale fisheries provide solutions for small- and large-scale environmental and socioeconomic issues. We are also interested in successful case studies and stories that demonstrate how small-scale fisheries have overcome, or are in the process of overcoming, specific issues and challenges. 

The contributions can be sent in a format of a story, reflection piece, short article, video, art piece etc. The material should be sent to [email protected], by January 31, 2023. We will release the first collection of stories on February 20th - World Day of Social Justice.

Sharing your stories

Fishing Into The Future: A San Diego Story

In this video San Diego Fisherman, Peter Halmay, talks about the Fish to Families Program (a program to help San Diego fishermen, the hospitality industry, and local families in need during the global pandemic 2020-2021) and the future of small-scale commercial fishing in San Diego, California.

The San Diego Fishermen’s Working  Group (SDFWG) is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization with a Board of Directors comprised of all the major fishery gear types of the greater San Diego region. The SDFWG represents the interests of commercial fishermen in local, state, and federal processes. The term “fishermen” is used inclusive of both our fishing men and women.

The Mission of the San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group is to squarely place in the public’s mind the importance of commercial fishing to the food security, and to the economic, social, and cultural fabric, of the greater San Diego region.

Contributor: Pete Halmay

After working as a Consulting engineer for seven years after graduation, I decided to take a couple of years off to pursue my diving hobby and work as a full-time abalone diver. That was in 1970 and I never went back. Over the years, I noted that what was holding fishermen back was the lack of organization, and have spent the past 30 years of my life in developing social capital in the sea urchin fishery. I was the founding director of SUHAC, the statewide sea urchin dive Association, which led to the formation of the California Sea Urchin Commission, a quasi government body under the California Department of Food and Ag. I was elected a director of CSUC and appointed Vice chairman. However, I noted a lack of involvement, or proper foundation at the Port level, and formed a fishing co-operative, the San Diego Watermen’s Association (SDWA). This effort expanded to include all San Diego fishermen and led to the development of a San Diego Community Based Association, San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group(SDFWG), the San Diego Seafood Harvesters LLC, and the Fishermen’s Marketing Association of San Diego. In 2014, became one of the owners of Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, the only fishermen’s market im San Diego. During this entire time, I have remained a full-time sea urchin diver working about 110-220 days a year underwater. Maybe I will retire in about 30 years, but the prospect of my wife being the boss instead of my being the Captain with complete authority does not sit well with me.