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The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022). FAO is the lead agency for celebrating the year in collaboration with other relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system.

The International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture was officially launched on 19 November 2021. IYAFA 2022 will be an opportunity to showcase the potential and diversity of small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture, and points to the benefits which can be gained from facilitating partnerships and cooperation with fishers, fishfarmers and fish workers and as well in achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The global food system faces many complex challenges, including hunger, malnutrition and dietrelated diseases, an ever-growing global population that needs sufficient and healthy food, the need to reduce food loss and waste, the depletion of natural resources and effects of climate change, as well as the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants are fundamental, essential and indispensable foods eaten by people around the world as part of healthy diets, cultural heritage and culinary tradition.

Small-scale artisanal fishers and fish farmers produce a large portion of this food, and as such, IYAFA 2022 is an opportunity to highlight the importance of smallscale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture for our food systems, livelihoods, culture and the environment. Small-scale fishers, fish farmers and fish workers hold enormous potential to promote transformative
changes in how, by whom and for whom fish and fishery products are produced, processed and distributed – with positive ripple effects felt throughout the global food system.

IYAFA 2022 aims to raise awareness on the role of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, strengthen science-policy interaction, empower stakeholders to take action, and to build new and strengthen existing partnerships. IYAFA 2022 can also act as a springboard towards implementing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related documents, like the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, and take
concrete actions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we enter the last decade of action to achieve the 2030 Agenda. It also falls within the UN Decade of Family Farming, the two observances will reinforce one another in providing greater visibility to small-scale artisanal fishers, fishfarmers and fish workers.

Everyone has a role to play - from governments and private sector companies to the general public and even youth. Let’s work together for a world in which small-scale artisanal fishers, fishfarmers and fish workers are fully recognized and empowered to continue their contributions for human well-being, food systems and poverty alleviation through the responsible and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources.

Many other events will take place throughout the year and will be posted on the events section of the IYAFA’s website:

What is ‘artisanal’ and ‘small-scale’?
There is no universal definition of ‹artisanal› or ‹small-scale’ fisheries or aquaculture. In general, these terms describe fisheries and aquaculture that use relatively small production units with relatively low input and low output, and limited levels of technology and small capital investment. They are commonly managed on a family level, sometimes with a small group of employees, or at a community level. The fish are often sold in local markets but can also reach national and international markets. For the purpose of IYAFA, small-scale and artisanal are used interchangeably. Note that fishing for sport or recreation are commonly not called ‹artisanal› or ‹small-scale›