Fish must be caught using techniques adapted to their marine habitat, techniques which do not cause permanent damage to the seabed and avoid bycatch and discards as much as possible.
Artisanal fishing, using small boats, is a valuable resource for the economic and ecological sustainability of the sector.
Artisanal systems do not generally cause imbalances between species and are more respectful of local resources and biodiversity. Fishermen obey the law of nature and the water rather than the economic imperative of maximum profit.
Promoting and revitalizing artisanal fishing knowledge, including that of indigenous peoples, should be a priority in fishing policy.
Artisanal fishing is under heavy attack from industrial fishing, pirate fishing and globalization.
Along the West African coast, in the countries that have followed the dogma of the global market and trade liberalization to the letter, traditional fishing communities are in open competition with European, Russian and Asian ships intent on ransacking local marine resources. Some of these ships are there due to trade agreements through which African governments have undersold their fish stocks. Others are operated by poachers, sometimes armed, who often fish without lights and have no qualms about sinking the boats of local fishers.
Comparison Between Artisanal and Industrial Fishing from the Perspective of Sustainability
(Source: Pauly and Jacquet, Funding Priorities: Big Barriers to Small Scale Fisheries, 2008)