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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Key Factors Supporting Small-Scale Coastal Fisheries Management

April 15, 2014

This synthesis was designed to provide an evidence base on the success factors in small-scale coastal fisheries management in developing countries and, in turn, to assist the Rockefeller Foundation in developing its strategy for its Oceans and Fisheries Initiative. In doing so, it identifies and describes some 20 key factors believed to influence success in small-scale coastal fisheries management. The report was completed via a rapid review of key sources of knowledge from formal published literature, institutional literature, key informants and Internet searches. The focus was on key success factors in achieving a balance of social, economic and ecological benefits from the management of small-scale coastal fisheries. A summary of these success factors can also be explored via an interactive visualization that accompanies this report.

APFIC/FAO Regional Consultative Workshop: Securing sustainable small-scale fisheries: Bringing together responsible fisheries and social development, Windsor Suites Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand 6–8 October 2010

January 1, 2010

In the Global Overview, we attempt to view reefs in terms of the poor who are dependent on reefs for their livelihoods, how the reefs benefit the poor, how changes in the reef have impacted the lives of the poor and how the poor have responded and coped with these changes. It also considers wider responses to reef issues and how these interventions have impacted on the lives of the poor.

The Socio-economic Impacts of Fisheries Management and Policy Designed to Achieve Biodiversity Conservation

November 1, 2009

This report responds to a request from the Tubney Charitable Trust to carry out a basic review of current knowledge of the socio-economic impacts of fisheries management and policy designed to achieve biodiversity conservation. The fisheries sector is having a significant impact upon marine biodiversity in UK waters. The report discusses the importance and diversity of socio-economic knowledge and how it can help to place fisheries into the broader, more holistic, framework of sustainable development. It emphasises the complexity of the policy environment and the need to understand the conflicting and contrasting motives of the different stakeholders. Understanding what motivates policymakers and fishers is the first step to changing their behaviour. The report discusses the divergence between policy and policy implementation, and the complexity of policy instruments.

Sustainable Livelihoods Enhancement and Diversification (SLED): A Manual for Practitioners

January 1, 2008

The aim of this document is to provide development practitioners with an introduction to the SLED process as well as guidance for practitioners facilitating that process. The Sustainable Livelihoods Enhancement and Diversification (SLED) approach has been developed by Integrated Marine Management Ltd (IMM) through building on the lessons of past livelihoods research projects as well as worldwide experience in livelihood improvement and participatory development practice. It aims to provide a set of guidelines for development and conservation practitioners whose task it is to assist people in enhancing and diversifying their livelihoods. Under the Coral Reefs and Livelihoods Initiative (CORALI), this approach has been field tested and further developed in very different circumstances and institutional settings, in six sites across South Asia and Indonesia. While this process of testing and refining SLED has been carried out specifically in the context of efforts to manage coastal and marine resources, it is an approach that can be applied widely wherever natural resources are facing degradation because of unsustainable human use. The SLED approach provides a framework within which diverse local contexts and the local complexities of livelihood change can be accommodated.

Understanding the Factors that Support or Inhibit Livelihood Diversification in Coastal Cambodia

September 1, 2005

The DFID funded Aquatic Resource Dependency and Benefit Flows Project (ARDB) was a short research project (from January 2005 until August 2005) implemented by IMM of the UK, the Community Fisheries Development Office (CFDO) of the Department of Fisheries (DoF) and the Community Based Natural Resource Management Learning Institute (CBNRM LI), both based in Cambodia. It had two aims: 1) to build capacity amongst government and NGO staff in understanding the importance of livelihood diversification as a potential tool for natural resource management, and 2) to further our understanding of how factors that support or inhibit rural household diversification may apply in the Cambodian coastal context and beyond. The current report reviews the background to, and the findings of, that research.

Changing Fish Utilisation and Its Impact on Poverty in India: Major Trends in the Utilisation of Fish in India and Their Impact on the Poor

December 1, 2001

This publication is an output from a research project (R7999) funded by the United Kingdom DFID Post-Harvest Fisheries Research Programme Project for the benefit of developing countries. The project was called: Changing Fish Utilisation and Its Impact on Poverty in India. The project aims to develop policy guidance to increase the positive impact of improved post-harvest utilisation of fish on the lives of poor processors, traders and consumers in India. Throughout this report the project is referred to as the IFU project.

New Approaches to Participation in Fisheries Research

June 1, 2000

This study was commissioned by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) and SIFAR (Support Unit for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research) on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR). It is concerned with research in the context of fisheries development.The ACFR acknowledges that the fisheries sector is faced with serious social and environmental problems and that current approaches to research have their limitations. It is recognised that participatory approaches and methods potentially have a greater role to play in fisheries research. This study aims to explore that potential and to suggest how we might move forward. The main focus of the report is on experiences in developing countries because this is where much of the innovative work in participation in research is being carried out. However, it is acknowledged that there is also much to be learnt from developed world experience.

Participatory and Integrated Policy: A Field Guide for Policy Formulation in Small-Scale Fisheries

April 1, 1996

The Participatory and Integrated Policy (PIP) process is a structured approach to research, dialogue, decision-making, institutional reform and development-resource allocation, which promotes greater involvement of all stakeholders in the policy process and harmonises their conflicting objectives, strategies and capacities. This field guide is designed to provide some structure to researching the policy formulation process. It aims to complement, and forms a bridge between, the specific social, economic, environmental and technical fisheries skills of researchers in the area of small -scale fisheries policy.