The role of social protection in the recovery from COVID-19 impacts in fisheries and aquaculture

Food systems were severely hit by COVID-19 and the related restrictions to the movement of people and goods. In fisheries and aquaculture, the socio-economic effects of COVID-19 are manifold including changes in consumer demand, limited storage facilities, drop in fresh fish prices and stopping fishing operations. Many individuals working in the sector operate in the informal market with no coverage from labour market policies – not registered in mandatory social security, paid less than the legal minimum wage, without a written contract, or self-employed. These individuals include small-scale fishers, migrant, fish workers, ethnic minorities, crew members, harvesters, gleaners and vendors – especially women (FAO, 2020a; 2020b), who were the most affected by the pandemic. Social protection (SP) has been a key response that governments took to alleviate the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 restrictions for fishery-dependent communities (FAO, 2020c).