Fish and fish-related products are among the most highly traded commodities globally and the proportion of globally harvested fish that is internationally traded has steadily risen over time.
Views on the benefits of international seafood trade diverge, partly as a result from adopting either an aggregate national focus or a focus on local market actors. However, both views generally assume that the trade in question is characterized by export of fisheries resources to international markets. This is potentially misleading as empirical evidence suggests that import of seafood can also have impacts on local SSF dynamics. A systematic analysis of the different ways in which local production systems connect to international seafood markets can therefore help shed more light on why small-scale fisheries exhibit such differences in outcomes as they engage in an increasingly global seafood trade.
This paper conducts a synthesis across 24 cases from around the world and develops a typology of small-scale fisheries and how they connect to and interact with international seafood trade. The analysis is based on key features drawn from trade theory regarding how trade interacts with local production. The implications of the findings for social and ecological sustainability of small-scale fisheries are discussed with the aim of identifying further research topics which deserve attention to better inform trade policy for more sustainable fisheries and more just wealth distribution from their trade.
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