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Are the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines Sufficient to Halt the Fisheries Decline in Malta?

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The Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines

Part of the book series: MARE Publication Series ((MARE,volume 14))


The fishing sector in Malta has always been one of a small-scale nature with a long history of fishers engaging in traditional small-scale fishing practices. However, this image has undergone a radical shift in the past decade since Malta’s accession to the EU in 2004. With the industrialization of the Bluefin tuna fishery and the increase in the number of industrial trawlers, small-scale fishers are facing multi-faceted deprivation to a point where exiting is the only option, a reality evident by the declining number of small-scale fishers engaged in the sector. This case study demonstrates that the problems small-scale fishers are facing are the result of ineffective governance systems which do not cater to the needs of the small-scale fisheries sector and thus the establishment of imminent protective strategies for small-scale fishers are needed. I argue that the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines) should be the starting point for the regeneration of the small-scale fisheries sector in Malta. In line with the scope of the SSF Guidelines, fishers can benefit from enriched stability through the provision of tenure rights and the formation of fisheries local action groups (FLAGs). This way, small-scale fishers, who represent the relics of sustainable fishing in Malta, can become empowered and proactively get involved in designing a long-term vision that restores the image of the small-scale fisheries sector in the neoliberal era.

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  1. 1.

    The data collection process was aligned to the code of ethics of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

  2. 2.

    The difference in the vessels is mainly a structural one as their operational purpose in terms of fishing is relatively similar.

  3. 3.

    This is a field within anthropology that examines the knowledge that humans have about fish, their use and their importance in different societies.

  4. 4.

    In fact, before Malta joined the EU a ‘tuna fish importation restriction order’ to control the amount of tuna entering the Maltese market was also in place to curb economic impacts on local fishers (Cap 425.03).

  5. 5.

    There are ongoing discussions on the potential membership of the Maltese small-scale fishing sector.

  6. 6.

  7. 7.

    Council Regulation 1198/2006, Article 4(f).

  8. 8.

    Council Regulation 508/2014, Article 5(c).

  9. 9.

  10. 10.

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Said, A. (2017). Are the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines Sufficient to Halt the Fisheries Decline in Malta?. In: Jentoft, S., Chuenpagdee, R., Barragán-Paladines, M., Franz, N. (eds) The Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines. MARE Publication Series, vol 14. Springer, Cham.

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