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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Community-based Data Gathering and Co-management of Marine Resources in Timor-Leste

January 1, 2013

This the final technical report regarding communication products and outputs created as a result of lessons learned from eleven years of the Fisheries Management Science Programme (FMSP). These lessons, together with tools, methods and informative experiences have been brought together into accessible communications products that aim to highlight the FMSP experiences in relation to fisheries co-management and lead the reader towards the more detailed products available. As such the project has not aimed to generate any particular new insights into any aspect of the co-management process but instead to communicate what exists to a range of stakeholders. The project has developed a communication strategy that has identified a range of target communications stakeholders including policy makers, implementing agencies and agencies with a capacity building remit who might benefit from the lessons learned. The communications strategy was developed together with two other projects to ensure a coordinated approach to the promotion of products relating to co-management and a single communications database was established through which the strategy could be implemented. Based on lessons learned in earlier uptake promotions projects, a range of communications products were developed.

Strategic Review of Tropical Fisheries Management

February 1, 2002

This project addresses the constraints to tropical fisheries development with sustainable exploitation through a strategic assessment of tropical fisheries management with the following purposes: (1) To evaluate relevant research methods for the development of assessment models appropriate to the circumstances of tropical coastal fisheries; and (2) To evaluate the utility of existing strategies for the implementation of management advice. The report consists of three substantive chapters. Chapter 2 contains a detailed socio-economic assessment of various instruments and implementation strategies applicable to tropical capture fisheries. In Chapter 3, a detailed assessment of the fisheries for tropical large marine ecosystems has been conducted using a technique developed by FAO (Granger & Garcia 1996). The data used were the FAO statistics published regularly by FAO. This analysis has been conducted for each of the tropical large marine ecosystems and indicates that there is the potential for increased fishing in a number of these ecosystems. One of the clear requirements identified in Chapter 2 and implicit in Chapter 3, is that there is a significant need for simple and robust fisheries assessment methods which can estimate the potential of a particular resource, its capacity in terms of the level of fishing effort and its current status ie whether it is currently exploited sustainably or not. In Chapter 4, these problems are addressed directly and, using two approaches, significant simplification of fishery methods is developed. In the first approach, simple empirical relationships between the life history parameters of a species are used to develop models of potential yield which can be determined by a simple assessment of fish growth. In the second approach, optimal life history theory is applied to the key demographic parameters of exploited fish populations and using estimates of the Beverton & Holt invariants a significant simplifying of the basic stock assessment equations is developed.