Small scale fisheries | WWF

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© Claudia Amico

By enabling small-scale fishers to sustainably manage the resources they depend on, we aim to restore the health of Mediterranean fish stocks and secure people’s livelihoods for the long term.


Fishing has been part of community life around the Mediterranean throughout history – and still today, small boats owned and crewed by local people catch more than half of all the seafood from the Mediterranean. These small-scale fisheries directly employ 140,000 people in the region, and generate jobs for another 150,000 people.

But around 85% of fish stocks in the Mediterranean are overfished and fish populations are dwindling, putting the future of fishing communities in jeopardy. Part of the problem is that the rules and regulations governing fisheries tend to come from the top down, and local fishers have little say in the decisions that affect them.

Our experience shows that when local fishers themselves are given more responsibility for managing their fisheries, fish stocks and biodiversity recover and artisanal fishers earn better incomes. Now we’re leading an effort to put co-management schemes like this in place across the Mediterranean.

Did you know?

Small-scale fishers make up 84% of the total fishing fleet in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

© Mathieu Foulquie


We’re a leading partner in the largest ever initiative to strengthen small-scale fisheries management in the Mediterranean.

At more than 20 sites in Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Algeria, we’re working with fishing communities to develop new models that enable them to co-manage their fisheries in a sustainable way. These nine countries represent more than 60% of the small-scale fisheries sector in the region.

Along with these pilot projects, we’re working with partners across the region to scale up these efforts and to build the capacity of small-scale fisheries. For example, with the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) we’ve set up a platform to share knowledge, results and best practices from our work in the field, and to improve coordination between the various organizations and initiatives to support small-scale fisheries across the Mediterranean

Fishing communities depend on healthy fish stocks and marine ecosystems: it’s in everyone’s interest to look after them together.

© Claudia Amico / WWF