Social protection for small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean region - Policy Brief

In the Mediterranean, particularly in Albania, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, small-scale fisheries play a crucial role in sustaining economic activity and ensuring food security within coastal communities. However, their remuneration tends to be lower when compared to larger scale fisheries. Likewise, they face environmental, economic, social and political risks, and at times, they are unable to cope with the adverse effects of shocks.  Social protection can address these vulnerabilities in small-scale fisheries communities, through policies and programmes. However, there is limited availability of data on the sector, greatly due to the high levels of informality, irregularity and seasonal nature of the SSF activity. This can result in the exclusion of small-scale fishers from laws governing formal employment, therefore hindering their participation in national social security systems. Small-scale fishers in the Mediterranean have an unmet-need for comprehensive coverage of social protection programmes, and this report seeks to provide guidance on how to fill that gap. This study commissioned by FAO and the GFCM identifies the conditions and vulnerabilities in the countries, and proposes recommendations to improve the coverage and effectiveness of social protection programmes, including promoting formalization and social security registration, as well as flexible contribution payment, and to improve the data available in the small-scale fisheries sector.