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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Catch Shares in Action: Argentine Individual Transferable Quota Program

January 1, 2013

The Argentine Individual Transferable Quota Program manages four of the country's most commercially important species by allocating quota to individual vessels under a single catch share program. Program goals focus on long-term stock conservation, the maximization of domestic employment and the promotion of social stability. As distinct fleets target each species, managers have incorporated special design features within the program to meet each fishery's needs. Quota set-asides give managers the flexibility to address fishery-specific social and biological goals, while the multi-criteria allocation process incentivizes investment in the domestic economy and compliance with fishing regulations.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: Peruvian Anchoveta Northern-Central Stock Individual Vessel Quota Program

January 1, 2013

The Peruvian Anchoveta Northern-Central Stock Individual Vessel Quota Program is a catch share program that manages the largest volume fishery in the world. The goals of the program were focused on the economic improvement of the fishery through reduction of fleet capacity and lengthening of the fishing season. Additional biological and social goals were identified and seen as vital to ensure program success. Key design elements include restrictions on transferability to help limit consolidation and an industrysponsored social fund to assist with crew retirement and labor transition. To reflect the short-lived nature of anchoveta, management is structured into two fishing seasons per year. Each year, a five million metric ton reserve of anchoveta biomass is set aside to promote long term stock health.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: Samoan Safata District Customary User Rights Program

January 1, 2013

The Samoan Customary User Rights System is an area-based catch share program that formalizes the customary fishing rights of native communities. Authorized by legislative reforms, fishing communities voluntarily establish and manage Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURFs) in traditional fishing areas. The program has been designed to meet the goals of sustainable resource use and empowering villages in fishery management. Key design features include the active participation of the Samoan government in guiding the creation and management of TURFs and the integration of traditional management practices to achieve sustainability. In Safata District, community members have established a district-wide TURF with a network of no-take reserves to increase biological performance and sustain local livelihoods into the future.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: Spanish Galicia Goose Barnacle Cofradía System

January 1, 2013

The Spanish Galicia Goose Barnacle Cofradía System was implemented to manage the highly lucrative goose barnacle fishery. Program goals were focused on reducing overfishing and restoring profitability. The program codified traditional fishing guilds, known as cofradías , as co-managers by granting them secure and exclusive privileges to harvest goose barnacles within clearly defined fishing areas and requiring them to responsibly manage the resource. A key program innovation is the use of on-site fisheries ecologists to conduct scientific monitoring, set appropriate mortality controls and adaptively manage mortality controls within season to ensure sustainable goose barnacle populations.

Rights and Legal Frameworks