Fishing in the city for food—a paradigmatic case of sustainability in urban blue space | npj Urban Sustainability –

Literature review

To establish what has been published about FCF, we searched in Web of Science and Google Scholar for the following keywords and phrases: urban fishing; urban angling; city fishing; fishing for food in the city; subsistence fishing; urban fishers /fishermen; city angling; city fisher; city fishing toxin; hazardous substance city/urban fishing; fishing/angling in the city). We then performed a forward and backward snowballing of the references in the papers that we found. This exercise resulted in a non-exhaustive list of 285 broadly relevant papers from academic fields such as fisheries (management), economics, history, aquatic science, risk studies, development studies, sustainability science, environmental impact assessment, urban studies, anthropology, toxicology, marine policy, sociology, leisure research, consumption studies, natural resource management, education, ecology, health, planning, rural development, and human geography. We also included grey literature, such as reports, conference proceedings, student theses, etc.

From the collection of articles that we generated through this search, we selected only those that discussed (directly or indirectly) “fishing for food” and “fishing in the city”. This means that articles about fishing for food but not in the city, or about fishing in the city but not discussing fishing for food, or about urban fish but not about fishing, or about fishers living in urban areas but fishing elsewhere, were omitted. This selection resulted in 135 articles about fishing in the city for food. We analysed the articles in this final set of publications based on topic, country of study and publication year to discern strands, trends, and geographical spread in the literature. For detailed information see Supplementary Table 1.

The literature on FCF is geographically uneven. Of the total of 135 articles, 104 are about the USA. The USA literature offers valuable insights into FCF, but insights from the USA context (a high-income country with large income differences and a longstanding nationwide urban fishing programme) cannot unreflectively be used for understanding FCF globally or in other places. Other high-income countries that are included in our review with more than one entry are Canada (2 articles), the Czech Republic (2 articles) and Germany (5 articles). Further, 15 articles focus on urban fishing in upper-middle-income countries: Brazil (5 articles), South Africa (6 articles), Malaysia (1 article), Mexico (1 article), and China (2 articles). In the first four of these countries, FCF is approached more as a livelihood security and/or justice issue, whereas in China it is discussed in relation to public health.

While they feature in the first collection of 285 articles, low- and lower-income countries were generally absent when we narrowed our focus to fishing in the city for food. Most articles from low- and lower-income countries focus on fishers that live in the city but go fishing elsewhere outside the city, often with boats (e.g. Kadfak14), or semi-urban fishing communities15,16, or urban fish farming (e.g. Abayomi17). As such, these publications did not qualify to be included in our selection of articles about fishing in the city for food. Nevertheless, they discuss related and relevant issues and highlight the diversity that can be described by the term “urban fishing”. We suspect that the lack of articles about FCF …….


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