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Uniting small-scale fishers to achieve fair fisheries, healthy seas and vibrant communities.

We are the united voice of the Low Impact Fishers of Europe

Small-Scale Fishers as Part of the Solution for Sustainability The potential of small-scale fishers to contribute to environmental, social and economic sustainability in European coastal fisheries is an opportunity missed. If given the attention they deserve by policy makers, and given greater opportunities in European seas, the small-scale fishing fleet could be a game changer.

European fish stocks suffer from chronic overfishing, with around 40% of Atlantic stocks being fished at above sustainable levels, and 85-90% in the case of Mediterranean fish stocks. Small-scale fishing fleets are micro- or nano- family-owned businesses, catching and landing fresh high-quality fish on a daily basis (“catch of the day”), with the owner and family members as fishing crews. 

Due to historic neglect and injustices, SSF are only able to access 5 to 10% of the fishing opportunities while accounting for the majority of the European fleet. European fisheries policies promote larger scale more industrialised fishing activities, to the detriment of coastal communities, fishery resources, and the marine environment.

small scale fishing

The Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) is a response to the overfished, stock depleted, and unfair situation in European seas. 

Low impact fishers of Europe

There is strength in unity, and the strength of LIFE is that it can unite its members to develop common solutions to common problems, calling  on the generational skills, talent and experience of thousands of fishers to contribute to the sustainable development of the sector.

LIFE works at EU level, at regional sea-basin level (Baltic and North Sea, North and South Atlantic and Mediterranean and Black Sea), and at the water-face by supporting our members on the ground.  LIFE engages directly with EU institutions, regional fisheries management bodies (GFCM, ICCAT), Regional Advisory Committees and national governments.

Map of our members

small scale fishers

Our approach

In line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14b), LIFE works to secure fair access to fisheries resources and markets for low impact small-scale fishers.  LIFE aims to  transform the system by supporting small-scale fishers to become actors of change in their own right – to strengthen their capabilities to:

  • participate in the management of their fishing areas;
  • to secure fair access to fishery resources
  • to obtain a fair price for their catch through local, fair and sustainable food systems; and
  • to be taken note of in the decision making processes that affect their livelihoods
sustainable fishing

Become a member

By joining LIFE you can become part of our community, sharing our common values, contributing to our  goals,  and cooperating to meet the challenges of ensuring a better future for the sector. Join LIFE and become actively involved with other members in the European decision-making processes, receiving guidance on the latest developments.

low impact fishing

Support us

LIFE’s work  depends on grants and on philanthropic donations from foundations and individuals. You too can contribute through a direct donation – click on the donate button to make a contribution.

There are many other ways in which you can support small-scale low impact fishing and help us to make a difference.


“We met LIFE platform in 2016 and appreciated how our partnership started. We came from the nature conservation sector and LIFE from the fisheries sector. We have quickly foreseen that a collaboration between our both organisations would drive a new direction for the conservation of marine life. With its membership and knowledge of the small-scale fisheries sector, LIFE platform now plays a meaningful role in the group of conservation NGOs which we support, as the organisation ensures that marine conservation projects are also addressing the challenges met by fishers.”

Julien Semelin, Manager, Mediterranean Basin Programme at MAVA Foundation.


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