Small-scale fisheries is a fisheries subsector that tends to employ labour-intensive harvesting, processing and distribution technologies to exploit aquatic resources in marine and inland waters, for subsistence or commercial purposes; the associated
activities may be conducted on a full-time, part-time and/or seasonal basis.
The definition of small-scale fisheries varies by country and can be formal, that is, defined by law and/or policy, or informal, defined by written or unwritten customs of fishing communities. States have established various parameters for defining small-scale
fisheries, which may include: the purpose of fishing, the size of boats and their fishing capacity, motor power, type of fishing gear and fishing area, among others.
Although small-scale fisheries differ across countries and regions, they are generally known for their significant contributions to sustainable development through: nutritious food, income, jobs, culture, leisure and livelihoods for coastal and riverside communities; preservation of local, traditional, customary and/or indigenous knowledge of fishing techniques and practices;
and promotion of resilience, collaboration and solidarity within fishing communities.
Some of the common challenges faced by small-scale fisheries are: marginalization from governments' priorities and support; suffering from poor conditions of living and social development; vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.