Inside our latest issue: Quest Vol. 18 No.3

Science in the News
Puzzle
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International Year of Artisinal Fisheries and Aquaculture

In total around 492 million people depend at least partially on smallscale fisheries for their livelihoods, and small-scale fishers produce an astounding 40% of the global fisheries catch. Furthermore, smallscale fishers and fish workers account for 90% of the people who work worldwide in capture fisheries value chains. As a healthy source of protein and micronutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, calcium and zinc, fish are of course also essential to global food security.

These are some of the reasons why, in 2017, the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) proclaimed 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022), with the FAO serving as the lead agency and with the aim of raising awareness and promoting dialogue and collaboration. The vision statement for IYAFA 2022 reads as follows: “A world in which small-scale artisanal fishers, fish farmers and fishworkers of both genders are fully recognized and empowered to continue their contributions to poverty alleviation, human well-being and resilient and sustainable food systems through the responsible use of fisheries and aquaculture resources and socio-economic development.”

With August having been Women’s Month, it is also apt to point out that 4 in 10 fishers or fishworkers globally, are women.

To be honest, before compiling this edition I knew very little about small-scale fisheries, and I have gone fishing myself maybe two or three times in my entire life. But, in reading the articles from our contributing authors I was fascinated by the many facets of artisanal fisheries – proving once again how we are inextricably linked to the natural systems around us, and how important it is to protect that relationship.

Reading about the incredibly innovative traditional fishing methods of Africa, about new technology that allows scientists to use fin DNA to track great white shark populations, about the deep socio-cultural meaning that fishing communities attach to the water systems they call home, and about the unique ecosystems found in estuaries, my eyes were opened to a world I scarcely knew existed. In spite of the fact that I – like most of us – enjoy eating fish on a regular basis!

I hope reading this edition will be as interesting and illuminating for you as it was for me.

For more information about IYAFA 2022, please visit https://www.fao.org/artisanal-fisheries-aquaculture-2022/home/en/. You can also
watch a promo video here: https://www.
youtube.com/watch?v=0s6N_89xXIU&t=10s.

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Fanie (RS) van Rooyen (Quest Editor) with support from Susan Veldsman, Prof. Himla Soodyall (ASSAf) and Dr Linda Fick (ASSAf).

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