Weekly Overview: New Documentary Looks at Lives, Future of US Small-Scale Fisheries

16 February 2016, at 12:00am

ANALYSIS - This week's newsletter focuses on some of the latest research and documentaries looking at small-scale and community level fisheries and aquaculture operations.

In the US, filmmaker and photographer duo JD and Kelley Jordan Schuyler have begun filming a documentary that focuses on the struggles of the country's small-scale fishermen.

Centred on the personal stories of fishermen from Alaska to Maine, Last Man Fishing showcases the ways small-scale fishermen have adapted to, struggled in, and are now beginning to remake the seafood system.

The film also looks at the ways the fishermen have taken on the challenge by working with consumers, chefs, policy makers, and community leaders to forge new systems that enhance the sustainability of the seafood supply chain.

Also in the US, a global review of the value of inland fish and fisheries has shown that inland capture fisheries are much more crucial to global food security than realised.

The article, published in Environmental Reviews, showed that although aquaculture and inland capture fisheries contribute more than 40 per cent of the world’s reported finfish production, their harvest is greatly under-reported and value is often ignored.

“Inland capture fisheries and aquaculture are fundamental to food security globally,” said Abigail Lynch, a fisheries research biologist with the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.

In aquaculture, a new report from Worldfish has investigated how improved productivity of fish farming in developing countries does not necessarily translate into greater income, food and nutrition security.

It is widely known that aquaculture can bring great advantages to poorer communities through providing food, jobs and helping generate an income from a surplus production.

However, the new research has found that the distribution of these benefits is impacted by socio-cultural dynamics such as local customs, gender, age and religion.

The authors have therefore suggested that there needs to be more context-specific studies of socio-dynamics in aquaculture production and consumption in order to help policymakers and planners ensure development outcomes are achieved.

“Aquaculture interventions should be tailored to the resource base and socio-cultural context of the target community,” said Principal Scientist, Jharendu Pant.

“That way, it will be possible to achieve the sustainable and equitable distribution of income, food and nutrition benefits.”