Small-scale fisheries development in Africa: lessons learned and best practices for enhancing food security and livelihoods

Antaya Lauren Alexandra March*, Pierre Failler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) play a significant role in ensuring food security, providing employment and generating livelihoods, however the sustainability and viability of their existence into the future is under threat with global pressures such as climate change, the increasing industrialisation of larger fishing activities and depleting fish stocks. The objectives of this article are to highlight the contributions of SSFs to poverty alleviation and food security and document the lessons learned and best practices for small-scale fisheries development in Africa to guide realistic policy reform and sustainable development projects. This paper brings together lessons from the development of Africa’s SSFs over the last thirty years alongside a range of case studies, taken from across the continent, of best practices for further development of SSFs from the perspective of food and nutrition security and of improving livelihoods and income. The key findings of best practices and their application to the sustainable development of African SSFs were: (i) supporting local or community governance; (ii) developing integrated, system-oriented policies which focus on the role SSFs play in food and nutrition security; (iii) investing in low cost innovation; (iv) diversifying fishing practices and livelihoods opportunities; and (v) supporting and cross-pollinating existing infrastructure and initiatives. The effective implementation of these practices by projects or governments necessitates the mobilisation of resources, on-the-ground engagement with stakeholders and using local knowledge to make meaningful change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104925
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date23 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • small-scale fisheries
  • fisheries development
  • sustainable fisheries
  • artisanal fisheries
  • sustainable practices


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