Artisan fishing is any kind of small-scale, low-technology, commercial or subsistence fishing practices, particularly those of coastal or island ethnic groups using traditional techniques such as rod and tackle, arrows and harpoons, throw nets and drag nets, and traditional fishing boats. Artisan fishing contrasts with large-scale modern commercial fishing practices in that it is often, but not always, less intensive and less stressful on fish populations than modern industrial fishing.
The Vezo is the term the semi-nomadic coastal people of southern Madagascar use to refer to people that have become accustomed to live from sea fishing. The Vezo speak a dialect of the Malagasy language, which is a branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language group derived from the Barito languages, spoken in southern Borneo. They currently populate most of the littoral zone along Madagascar’s west coast between Toliara and Mahajanga. They do not identify with a particular Malagasy ethnic group but instead with their way of life. Because of their semi-nomadic marine migrations, their population is difficult to determine and has been estimated by counting the dugout canoes called pirogues (lakanas in Malagasy language) around Madagascar.
"Vezo" literally means the people who fish, but also has been known to mean 'to struggle with the sea'.