Sustainable Fisheries

Special collection

Worldwide, small-scale coastal fisheries contribute significantly to providing food, employment, and incomes to many very poor people. But these same fisheries, and the ecosystems upon which they rely, are under increasing threat from a combination of climate change, pollution, over-fishing, and the exploitation of resources.

Fisheries management has been a major component in trying to address some of these issues, but with limited global success. The potential of fisheries, if managed well, is considerable but what form that potential will take will depend on how and why fisheries are managed.

This collection of reports and presentations explores just this question, describing some of the challenges faced by small-scale fisheries worldwide and their efforts to address these challenges and improve the health and well-being of the people who are dependent on these threatened environments.

The collection brings together the "grey literature" of the field, valuable work that is not readily available through academic journals and databases but is instead spread across dozens of organizational websites. This set of reports was initially identified as part of a synthesis review of key lessons commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation's Program on Oceans and Fisheries. We are pleased to make it more easily available for others to use and build on and encourage researchers and practitioners to add relevant work to the collection.

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Putting Into Practice the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries

January 1, 2005

This document is an abridged version of the FAO Fisheries Technical Guidelines No. 4, Suppl. 2, entitled Fisheries management. 2. The ecosystem approach to fisheries. It is intended to provide a more concise and less technical outline of the purpose and meaning of the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) and guidance as to how to implement the approach. Although the principles of an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) are not new, there is very little practical experience in their implementation. Translating high-level policy goals on EAF into operational objectives and actions is now the key challenge to sustainable fisheries.This booklet provides an overview of EAF, for marine capture fisheries, and its benefits. It considers what is required to implement EAF and the range of management measures available. It provides an overview of the management process, outlines any outstanding research requirements, and lists the main threats to the implementation of EAF.