Who are we?

Curacao. Photo: Ayana Johnson

SAFRN is a San Diego-based group of students, researchers, and faculty who study artisanal fisheries around the world; we are a Research Focus Area at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. Network members represent a broad range of academic disciplines – including marine biology, economics, international relations, anthropology, and geography – and are associated with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California – San Diego, NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, and San Diego State University. Founded in January 2010, SAFRN aims to serve as a hub for interdisciplinary communication and collaboration on methods for studying small-scale and artisanal fisheries, and for elucidating the commonalities and differences across fisheries in different regions where our research is conducted.  We are members of Too Big To Ignore, a larger, global research network that aims to elevate the profile of small-scale fisheries.


What is our mission?

Nosy Faly, Madagascar. Photo: Tara Whitty

SAFRN’s mission is to address calls for greater coherence among research projects in this field, and serve as a model for enhancing collaboration and promoting research that can be applied to sustainable management of artisanal fisheries.

The driving motivation behind SAFRN is to maximize the value of information collected through artisanal fisheries research, in order to better support the sustainable management of artisanal fisheries. While it is largely accepted that there exists no “one-size-fits-all” solution for promoting fishery sustainability, we believe that important commonalities exist across fisheries and regions. Through comparative examination of diverse projects, we can identify commonalities, examine the source and nature of differences between fisheries, and develop general management models that can be adapted, as needed, to local sites.

By synthesizing our collective expertise and experience, we will develop and disseminate standardized methods to better document and understand the socioeconomic and cultural context of artisanal fisheries, with the aim of producing results that are truly applicable to effective management.  We hope that our efforts to foster communication among researchers and provide information and resources will prevent new projects from struggling to “reinvent the wheel” during research method design.

A bit of background

SAFRN was started in 2010, when then-PhD candidate Tara Sayuri Whitty (with an ecology background) realized she wanted to study small-scale fisheries for her dissertation, but wasn’t sure how to conduct social science research.  She learned that there were several other students scattered about San Diego who also were interested in these fisheries, and who offered diverse backgrounds and expertise.  These students coalesced and connected with researchers and faculty from various San Diego institutions, and then – through a 2-year project funded by the Waitt Foundation – we were able to reach an international audience of researchers through our listserv, website, and international workshop, where we hosted experts from around the world to develop the SnAP protocol and where our connection to Too Big To Ignore began.


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