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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Marine Managed Areas: What, Why, and Where

January 1, 2010

This paper, which focuses on ocean and coastal areas, explores the challenge of public participation by discussing the role of communities in IM. It draws on a decade of collaboration between academics and community partners to outline the community perspective on both the limiting factors and the opportunities, and a state-of-the-art survey of community involvement in IM, parti-cularly in the Canadian Maritimes. The paper highlights the importance of linking communities and governments, and the need to overcome the growing disconnect between the two. It also illustrates the varied experiences of local coastal communities with IM through three concrete examples. These practical examples lead to two specific out-puts: a set of fundamental IM values and attributes from a community perspective, and a four-step process for facilitating and enabling community-focused IM.The conclusion summarizes key outcomes in terms of inclusivity and active involvement of communities.

Living with the Sea: Local Efforts Buffer Effects of Global Change

January 1, 2010

Living with the Sea examines the role of MMAs (Marine Managed Areas) in restoring and sustaining healthy oceans, particularly the importance of local management efforts. This document draws on MMA experiences worldwide by synthesizing results from over 25 natural science studies conducted over the past five years in 18 tropical countries in 48 MMAs. The analysis focuses on the role of MMAs in maintaining healthy oceans, showing that MMAs can be used to enhance fisheries outside their borders and safeguard threatened species. Conserving multiple habitats using MMAs can also protect diverse livelihoods and increase fisheries yields. Local protection of marine resources through the MMA process can provide strong local benefits to species, habitats, and people. Local protection buffers against global climate change impacts while maintaining the richness of marine life. Finally, MMAs benefit by using new scientific approaches and engaging citizen scientists.