Promoting Small-Scale Sustainable Fisheries in Italy

In 2020, ASCOMARE launched the project “Promoting Small-Scale Sustainable Fisheries in Salento” to collect data on the state-of-play of small scale and artisanal fisheries in Salento – i.e., the southeastern sub-region of Puglia, Italy. On 23 March 2021, the geographical scope of the project has been extended to cover other regions and sub-regions of Italy, including Emilia Romagna, Lazio, Liguria, Veneto and Sicilia.

The main objective of the project is to work closely with local stakeholders and gather meaningful insights from coastal fishing communities to assess the level of sustainability of small scale fisheries (SSF) in Italy, as well as to better understand the challenges faced by fishers during their daily work. The findings of the study will be presented in a comprehensive report to enhance knowledge and promote sustainable practices for SSF.

As part of the project’s activities, the team of ASCOMARE prepared a questionnaire (in Italian) to be circulated among fishers during our in situ consultations. The e-version of the questionnaire is available here.

According to FAO’s report on State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2020, small-scale and artisanal fisheries contribute about half of global fish catches, employing over 90% of the world’s fishery workers, half of them being women.

In the Mediterranean Sea, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) indicates that the small scale fleet represents 83% of the total sub-regional fishing fleet; with Italy ranking second, after Turkey, in the list of countries of the GFCM zone for capture fisheries production (about 185.300 tonnes in 2014-2016).

Enhancing data collection on the current status of SSF and engaging with local stakeholders in a constructive debate is paramount to enhance selectivity, to promote a level playing field and achieve sustainable development and food security in Italy, especially where SSF supports livelihoods within coastal communities. In that respect, the sub-region of Salento, bordering some of the most important fishing grounds in the Ionian Sea and Adriatic Sea, is an important SSF hotspot.

The project will also contribute to achieving the target 14.b.1 set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requiring States to promote the development of a legal/regulatory/policy/institutional framework for SSF.

For more information on the project activities, or to support the work of ASCOMARE, please reach out to us at

Project status

Project coordinator:
Marco La Rocca

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