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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People and Oceans: Managing Marine Areas for Human Well-Being

March 1, 2011

This booklet demonstrates an awakening within the conservation community that the human relationship with coastal and ocean environments must be evaluated in cultural, social, and economic -- as well as ecological -- dimensions. The major insights from this booklet include:People depend on oceans for food security, recreational opportunities, shoreline protection, climate regulation, and other ecosystem services.Marine resources have tremendous economic value that far exceeds current investments in marine governance, and visitors often are willing to pay far more than existing user fees.MMAs improve human well-being by diversifying livelihoods, enhancing incomes, and improving environmental awareness. They also pose challenges, including loss of access to fishing grounds, inequitable distribution of benefits, dependence on project assistance, and unmet expectations.MMAs are influenced by socioeconomic and governance conditions, including benefits exceeding costs, shared benefits, improved livelihood options, strong community participation, accountable management style, supportive local government, enabling legislation, enforced rules, empowerment and capacity building, strong persistent leadership, and involved external agents.Effective MMAs require strong enforcement, including both soft measures (i.e., education, partnerships) and hard measures (i.e., detection, interception, prosecution, and sanctions).Approaches such as buyouts, conservation agreements, and alternative livelihoods provide positive incentives for altering human behavior.

Balanced Livelihoods; Institutional Mechanisms and Frameworks; Knowledge Systems; Markets and Economies

MMAS Project Synthesis: A Chapter in the MMAS Final Report to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

October 15, 2010

One chapter of the Marine Managed Area Science (MMAS) Final Narrative Report. This document is a technical summary and synthesis of lessons learned under MMAS in its initial five years, under a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. MMAS encompassed the efforts of 100+ senior investigators working on about 50 related and sometimes overlapping projects. The program evolved gradually as individual projects were sequentially brought on line and woven together over the 5 years. Many MMAS participants saw the program through the eyes of their individual interests. Admittedly, few remained aware of the overarching goals and synthesis objectives of MMAS all the while that they were participants.For that reason, with the close of the grant, this document is part of a series of products that provide an integrated glimpse of the MMAS program, and the insights that it has begun to yield

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.