Harnessing the diversity of small-scale actors is key to the future of aquatic food systems

Published in Nature Food v. 2:733–741 (2021)

Short, R.E., Gelcich, S., Little, D.C. et al.

Publication year 2021
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00363-0

Rebecca E. Short 1,27 ✉, Stefan Gelcich 2,27, David C. Little 3,27, Fiorenza Micheli 4,5,27, Edward H. Allison 6, Xavier Basurto 7, Ben Belton6,8, Cecile Brugere9, Simon R. Bush 10, Ling Cao11, Beatrice Crona 1,12, Philippa J. Cohen 6,13, Omar Defeo14, Peter Edwards15, Caroline E. Ferguson16, Nicole Franz17, Christopher D. Golden 18, Benjamin S. Halpern 19,20, Lucie Hazen4, Christina Hicks 21, Derek Johnson 22, Alexander M. Kaminski 2, Sangeeta Mangubhai23, Rosamond L. Naylor 24, Melba Reantaso17, U. Rashid Sumaila 25, Shakuntala H. Thilsted6, Michelle Tigchelaar 4, Colette C. C. Wabnitz 4,25 and Wenbo Zhang 26

1Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden. 2Instituto Milenio en Socio-ecologia Costera & Center of Applied Ecology and
Sustainability, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. 3Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK. 4Stanford Center for
Ocean Solutions, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA, USA. 5Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA, USA. 6WorldFish, Batu
Maung, Malaysia. 7Duke University, Beaufort, NC, USA. 8Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East
Lansing, MI, USA. 9Soulfish Research & Consultancy, Stillingfleet, UK. 10Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands. 11School of Oceanography, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China. 12Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere, Royal Swedish Academy of Science, Stockholm, Sweden. 13ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. 14Facultad de Ciencias, Montevideo, Uruguay. 15School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology, Khlong Luang, Thailand. 16School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. 17Fisheries Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy. 18Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA. 19National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA. 20Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA. 21Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK. 22Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 23Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY, USA. 24Department of Earth System Science and Center on Food Security and the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. 25Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 26College of Fisheries and Life Science, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, P.R. China.

These authors contributed equally: Rebecca E. Short, Stefan Gelcich, David C. Little, Fiorenza Micheli.

IAI Program


IAI Project SGPHW-017
PDFShort et al Suppl Mat_SGPHW-017.pdf


Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture (SSFA) provide livelihoods for over 100 million people and sustenance for ~1 billion people, particularly in the Global South. Aquatic foods are distributed through diverse supply chains, with the potential to be highly adaptable to stresses and shocks, but face a growing range of threats and adaptive challenges. Contemporary governance assumes homogeneity in SSFA despite the diverse nature of this sector. Here we use SSFA actor profiles to capture the key dimensions and dynamism of SSFA diversity, reviewing contemporary threats and exploring opportunities for the SSFA sector. The heuristic framework can inform adaptive governance actions supporting the diversity and vital roles of SSFA in food systems, and in the health and livelihoods of nutritionally vulnerable people&mdashsupporting their viability through appropriate policies whilst fostering equitable and sustainable food systems.