Decadal characteristics of small-scale fishing livelihoods in 13 Pacific Island Countries and Territories

Publication Name

ICES Journal of Marine Science


Small-scale fisheries are cornerstones of wealth, food, and tradition for people throughout the Pacific region. Yet, their governance is plagued by a lack of relevant data. Using data collected from household income and expenditure surveys carried out in 13 Pacific Island Countries and Territories over the last decade, we bring enhanced resolution to these fisheries by describing how households engage in small-scale fishing and accounting the income generated from these activities. We find most households do not actively participate in fishing, and most that do, fish only for subsistence. Over time, however, the rates at which households participate in fishing may be declining. Further, the total income generated through aquatic foods caught for subsistence is nearly double that of foods caught for sale, but on a per household basis fishing for commercial purposes is more lucrative. Differences point to important distinctions in how households engage with and generate income from commercial and subsistence fishing, including where activities are often conducted, and the types of aquatic foods targeted. These distinctions have implications for how livelihoods-focused policies and programmes can be developed to ensure aquatic food systems continue to support Pacific Island communities as the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals approaches.

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Funding Sponsor

World Bank Group



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