What you can do


Promote your social and ecological advantage as a small-scale fisher and the quality of your products, especially commercially underappreciated resources which are often hidden delicacies.


Explore ways to shorten the value chain between you and customers and to connect to them, including via chefs and HORECA professionals.


Embrace branding and labelling schemes, appear at festivities or gastronomic events.


Could existing technology and other tools (e.g., apps, social media) work for you in reaching the consumers more efficiently?


Keep yourself updated on how other SSF communities have overcome their challenges and which solutions could work for you. Reach out to them or join a network.


Coordinate with like-minded fishers to improve your situation. Is there any scope to improve your organisation, leadership or business sides?


Explore ways to connect more directly between you and the fishers, where SSF settle a fair price.


Buy and eat local fish, lower your carbon footprint and appreciate local specialities wherever you go. Explore also festivals, go on a fishing tour and chat with chefs about the provenance of the fish they use.


Search for diversity in your dishes and explore seasonal and unfamiliar catch.


Support selective, seasonal fishing of a variety of different species, which are not threatened. Adapt your demand to the supply and not the other way around.


Keep yourself updated on the options to buy seafood, also those less conventional (using apps, social media, etc).


Consume fresh and unprocessed fish species and combine it with a healthy lifestyle.


Meet fishers in the fishing port, ask about species they catch and how to prepare them, learn more about fishing traditions, and how SSF fishers guard our ocean.


Do you want to set up a consumer group to sustain community-supported fishing?

  1. Encourage acceleration and scaling up of local initiatives, through a) Cross-pollination and experience-sharing among the proponents of good practices in various parts of the region.
    b) Structured capacity-building, via training programs and tailored advice.
    c) Implementing ancillary measures for their development, such as investment in meaningful infrastructure (e.g., processing plants), promotion of SSF products in public procurement and ensuring start-up funding.
  2. Establish a standard of good practice, based on inclusiveness and a principle progression, through: a) Establishment of explicit and accessible protocol/code of conduct/guidelines/principles, providing a reference point for consumers and producers regarding good behaviour.
    b) Promotion of the accepted standard to the consumers and citizens and efforts to raise awareness of the nature of responsible SSF and their viability, as part of ocean literacy.
    c) Peer recognition and support to foster an awareness among the SSF that there is a shared movement, a network or a community of practice that is capable of encouraging, providing advice and healthy competition.
  3. Complement the ongoing shifts in markets with synergistic policy reforms, in particular through: a) Removing subsidies harmful to SSF
    b) Improving access to fishing resources by SSF – an issue that is highly relevant to the organisation of markets, as access ensures that SSF markets can operate.
    c) Adjusting requirements and enforcement for documentation and traceability processes to support marketing of SSF products and decisions of consumers. This will allow governments, consumers and fishers to jointly navigate towards improving the status of fish stocks and ensuring sustainable fishing.

To contribute to sustainable development of the Mediterranean, the LabMAF project seeks to engender a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable small-scale fishing sector in the region, and promotes a revival of the vibrant small-scale and low-impact fishing communities that form an integral part of the rich history of this region. The project promotes small-scale and low-impact fisheries in so far as they promote fishing practices based on sustainable development principles and enhancement of livelihoods of fishing communities.

The document sets out principles and standards of behaviour for responsible practices with a view to encouraging a respectful use and stewardship of the Mediterranean. It provides a reference point for the promotion of good practices often conducted by the Mediterranean small-scale fisheries relating to low environmental impact, ecosystem approach, concern for social justice and local benefits, and protection of cultural heritage. As such, the guidelines are addressed to fishers who can use them to advance and consolidate responsible practices; to citizens and consumers who can use them to discern and value the products by low-impact small-scale fishers of the Mediterranean, and to policy-makers who can understand them as a recommended direction for improving policies and other legal and institutional frameworks and instruments.

The idea of the guidelines is to encourage incremental progress. Further, they should always be interpreted in a manner that is sensitive to local specificities. The guidelines should be revised regularly.


OBJECTIVE: To allow the fishers to lead decent livelihoods and ensure fair payment across the supply chain

This principle seeks to ensure that  the food chain is simple, short, traceable and transparent, consumers can access healthy and sustainably produced food, while generating fair economic returns in the supply chain, and fosters resilient, cohesive and interconnected small-scale producing communities, promoting fair trade, fair access to resources. A system that fosters a new governance where all local stakeholders are involved and held responsible, so that communities can exert greater control over the resources on which they depend, especially for their food production. A system that makes visible and rewards the role of women and attracts young generations.


  • Improve value of responsible small-scale fishers’ products and their revenues and competitiveness
  • Shorten the supply chain and ensure more direct sales (by enhancing the use of community supported agriculture and fisheries schemes -CSAs and CSFs-, dock-pick ups and other direct marketing arrangements)
  • Tap into new markets for fishers’ products
  • Promote the purchase of local high-quality fresh fish caught by responsible small-scale fishers
  • Promote better information, awareness and visibility of small-scale fishers’ products and its value added
  • Expand economic opportunities and reduce fisher vulnerability through diversification of activities (e.g. sustainability information actions and marine protected areas)
  • Secure stability of the price and income for the fishers (e.g. by ensuring contractual sales to clients, increasing storage capacities, preservation, processing of products or adequate market tools)
  • Improve social cohesion, cooperation and self-organization of SSF to ensure quality, and fair price of products (through fisher collective agreements, shared resources, creation of dedicated organisations and/or collective business opportunities, etc.);
  • Engage in transfer of skills to the younger generations to enhance inter-generational sustainability of traditional fishing/exploitation and related job opportunities (including in the post-harvest subsector) in coastal communities
  • Promote actions that will attract the younger generation into the sector
  • Involve and increase visibility of relatives, spouses or colleagues into the fishing activities and/or trading to enhance intra-generational sustainability, with particular attention to equitable recognition of women and vulnerable groups
  • Promote transparency, fairness and accountability in the value chain, i.e. in fisher-buyer relationships, incl. by application of regulations, monitoring and regulating unfair trading practices,
  • Promote co-management and participatory approaches in governance of resources
  • Organize or participate in capacity-building for fisher communities on potentials of value-added products
  • Promote cooperation in cooperatives and among fisher cooperatives or fisher communities to ensure quality and fair price of products
  • Contribute to positive social impact in the local community
  • Promote the interconnectedness and synergies with other small producers in-land


OBJECTIVE: To maintain and protect traditional fishing practices, knowledge and livelihoods while embracing innovation and creativity

Without anchoring too much in the past or neither devaluing the modernization, this principle seeks a good balance, recovering and valorizing the traditions and techniques which are compatible with sustainability components, preserving local and traditional knowledge, while promoting innovation, creativity and social entrepreneurship.


  • Ensure consumption of traditional healthy Mediterranean diets and improve food sovereignty
  • Contribute to discerning and recognizing the value of the local quality from the Mediterranean
  • Showcase a historically-diffused technique traditionally used by local fishers or processors
  • Acknowledge traditional local ecological knowledge of fishers
  • Contribute to the preservation of that knowledge (e.g. by training in traditional gear manufacturing and mending) and promotion to others (e.g. by disseminating information on techniques, natural seasonality of products when promoting the product, through culinary practices)
  • Demonstrate fishing livelihoods and practices (e.g. through knowledge centers, museums of fisheries, historical fishing, festivals, workshops)
  • Contribute to revival/recuperation of a lost low impact technique
  • Promote innovation, creativity and social entrepreneurship
  • Contribute to community-building of coastal fisher communities (e.g. by networking with other cultural entities and social fabric of coastal communities, supporting local in festivities and celebrations, investing in appropriate infrastructures, organizational structures and capacity development)


OBJECTIVE: To support low-impact fisheries practices and ensure ecological sustainability of fisheries

The principle seeks to ensure that the food chain has a low environmental impact, respecting seasons, preserving the sea-based resources on which the food system depends; helping to mitigate climate change and adapting to its impacts and reversing the loss of biodiversity and food waste, taking into account the interconnectivity of ecosystems.


  • Improve selectivity, ensure polyvalence and season-ability in fishing, and respect maturity of species / species’ life-cycles
  • Ensure no impact on the sea-bed
  • Diversify the catch to offer underutilized fish species
  • Control fishing effort and fishing mortality according to ecosystem carrying capacity
  • Mitigate or prevent interaction with endangered and vulnerable species
  • Address the issue of non-indigenous species and other effects of climate change (e.g. develop an economic value of invasive species, contribute to programs of climate change mitigation)
  • Prevent and mitigate ghost-fishing (prevent discarding and abandoning fishing gear and remove the lost gears from the sea,)
  • Promote the fight against IUU (by e.g. voluntary control and enforcement system, promote enforcement)
  • Promote fully documented fisheries and efficiency of data collection systems
  • Encourage lower carbon footprint of fishing and of product once landed (e.g local consumption, delivery, attention to packaging and materials used)
  • Prevent marine water pollution during operation and boat maintenance when possible (e.g. explore alternative materials in fishing operations, prevent disposal of solid waste at sea, avoid toxic antifouling paints on boats, avoid disposal of paint into the sea during boat maintenance)


OBJECTIVE: To ensure a safe and quality working environment of fishers and offer good quality and safe product

This principle seeks to contribute to food security, nutrition and public health – making sure that everyone has access to sufficient, nutritious, sustainable food that upholds high standards of safety and quality, while ensuring occupational health, safety and fair working conditions;


  • Ensure quality of fresh product (e.g. through a chain of cold, icing, cold rooms for storage) and processed product
  • Take measures to ensure healthy and safe working environment (secure safety equipment and adequate communication system, such as vessel geo-location systems)
  • Provide training on safety measures on vessels including first aid, and food handling courses to ensure hygiene practices are internalized in fishing operations