Trying to stay afloat: The COVID-19 impacts on fisheries
OFI Module I has assessed the impact of the pandemic on small-scale fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador and around the world.
Although the effects of COVID-19 are generalized, its impacts have especially been felt by small-scale fishers and fishing communities. "Many of small-scale fisheries are already marginalized and highly vulnerable in normal circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread impacts make things a lot worse for many small-scale fisheries around the world." They have faced challenges both at sea and inland, with restricted access to resources with a delayed start of the fishing season and to markets, which have been emptied following physical distancing recommendations. All this amidst a growing concern for the health and safety of fish workers and their families.
However, while trying to stay afloat in a sea of uncertainties, small-scale fishers have found different ways of dealing with the current situation by working together and in partnership with local organizations. In some cases, they have been able to identify opportunities for promoting their local product while international markets are shutdown, and have found innovative ways of reaching consumers through contactless deliveries via online applications. There is no shortage of creativity and inspiration on this collection of news stories that bring small-scale fishers together through these challenging times.
Killick: A traditional anchor homemade in Newfoundland ©Mirella Leis
Small-scale fisheries are highly affected by the lock-downs, which threaten their basic rights of access to coastal and ocean spaces, resources and markets. Small-scale fishers need to be taken in account, with the due support, to ensure that they will be able to survive during the pandemic, recover from the impacts and thrive amidst adversity.