This goal measures whether people who need to fish on a small, local scale have the opportunity to do so.


Artisanal fishing, often also called small-scale fishing, provides a critical source of food, nutrition, poverty alleviation and livelihood opportunities for many people around the world, especially in developing nations. Small-scale fishing is an important component of cultural identity and heritage.

Half the world’s fish harvest is captured by artisanal fishing families.

This goal measures how easy or hard it is for fishers to access ocean resources when they need them and the sustainability of harvest of stocks used by artisanal fishers. The need for artisanal fishing is most directly tied to the percent of population below the poverty line. Access, or ability to meet this need, are institutional permits or encouragements for small fisheries. Sustainability of artisanal fisheries refers to the sustainability of fishing methods and/or the health of targeted species. Sustainable gears are traditional hook and line, as opposed to unsustainable practices such as dynamite and gill net fishing.

A high score indicates that the demand for artisanal fishing is being met using lawful and sustainable methods, or alternatively, there is little economic need for artisanal fishing. A low score indicates that regions are not achieving or allowing sustainable artisanal fishing opportunities to be realized.

While small-scale fishing provides benefits and opportunities for local communities, limited or ineffective regulation and enforcement can signficantly impact the ability to pursue it.

Comparison of large scale and small scale fisheries


(figure from Jacquet et al. 2008)


Explore the full description of the data and model used in the Global OHI MODEL. Or, take a look at PRACTICAL GUIDANCE for advice on adapting the goal for future assessments and to learn how previous OHI+ assessments have modified this goal to address differences in data availability or priorities.

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FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (FAO) FAO Umbrella Programme for the promotion and application of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. Learn more

UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS GOAL 14.b.1: Degree of application of a legal/regulatory/ policy/institutional framework which recognizes and protects access rights for small-scale fisheries Learn more


Jacquet J, Pauly D (2008) Funding priorities: Big barriers to small-scale fisheries. Conservation Biology 22: 832-835 doi 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00978.x