The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread around the world with extensive social and economic effects. This editorial focuses specifically on the implications of the pandemic for small-scale fishers, including marketing and processing aspects of the sector, and coastal fishing communities, drawing from news and reports from around the world. Negative consequences to date have included complete shut-downs of some fisheries, knock-on economic effects from market disruptions, increased health risks for fishers, processors and communities, additional implications for marginalized groups, exacerbated vulnerabilities to other social and environmental stressors, and increased Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.
Discussions are raging on where and how governments should apply stimulus for their post-COVID-19 economic recovery plans. Will they, for example, support economic sectors which we know are causing irreversible damage to the environment and the natural world, such as the fossil fuels sector? Or are the recovery plans a unique chance to finally bring our production and consumption patterns in line with environmental imperatives and commitments to sustainable development?