The United Nations has declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022) to highlight the importance of artisanal fishing and aquaculture. Over the past ten years, and even more so since the pandemic, blue economy initiatives have been blooming. The 2021 UN Food Systems Summit advanced the notion of “Blue Foods”, which first and foremost means aquaculture.
In 2021, the FAO Committee on Fisheries took unprecedented steps to advance aquaculture, giving birth to the “Shanghai Declaration” drafted by WorldFish, industry players, and other stakeholders. IYAFA is now also showcasing artisanal fishing. Some prefer the term small-scale fishing, but regardless of the term used, it is always about the way of life that provides food and income for over a hundred million people globally.
However, fisher people’s territories and resources are increasingly being grabbed: the entire blue
economy agenda spanning from displacing people in the name of conservation (Marine Protected Areas -MPAs), to massive-scale investments for fish farming, to expanding ports to facilitate more global trade, and to unprecedented sound blasting and drilling for oil and gas, are examples of contemporary development that have and continue to dispossess fishing communities. We hope IYAFA will become the year for fisher people all over the world to scale up resistance and mobilise masses in demands for restitution and regeneration of nature.