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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Fisheries and Aquaculture and Their Potential Roles in Development: An Assessment of the Current Evidence

June 15, 2013

Commissioned by the International Sustainability Unity, this report investigates a number of innovative solutions that have been developed to deal with five key challenges that are impeding progress in achieving sustainable fisheries: overcapacity; perverse subsidies; poor governance; lack of data; and by-catch and discards. These key challenges are interlinked and affect the sustainability of fisheries both directly as well as indirectly by undermining instances of good management. Through 22 case studies demonstrating good practice, we explore how these challenges have been addressed around the world and how these approaches might be scaled up and applied in other fisheries. Each case study draws on published material and interviews with key people involved in the fishery. The main report draws lessons from these case studies.

Lessons for Co-management: Experiences from the Fisheries Management Science Programme (FMSP)

November 5, 2006

The aim of this document is to communicate lessons for fisheries co-management that have emerged from a series of projects undertaken by the DFID Fisheries Management Science Programme (FMSP). It focuses on three examples of FMSP projects: ParFish, Adaptive learning and designing data collection systems. This document does not aim to give a comprehensive overview of co-management but seeks to provide a viewpoint based on the experiences of the FMSP projects in question. This document is targeted to fisheries decision makers, managers and facilitators including government, industry and non-governmental organisations.

Synthesis of FMSP Experience and Lessons Learned for Fisheries Co-Management, Final Technical Report

October 31, 2005

In November 2012, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) set the terms of reference for a commissioned assessment of fisheries and aquaculture science. The task was to complete a "scoping review", consisting of an in-depth assessment of the existing evidence related to fisheries and aquaculture activities in developing countries and their contribution to economic growth, food security and nutrition. For this the assessment was expected to identify the existing evidence and 'evidence in the pipeline' (i.e. to be published imminently) from the existing literature, compile it, and provide an assessment of the strength (in the sense, scientific rigor) of that evidence, and identify knowledge or evidence gaps. In addition the assessment was to be complemented by a mapping of existing relevant interventions in fisheries and aquaculture. In order to conduct this assessment, the team of consultants adopted a six step methodological protocol that allowed them to assess in a consistent manner the scientific quality of the documents included in the assessment, based on quality, size and consistency of the evidence. After scanning, 202 documents were retained. The main evidences from these 202 documents were organised under two main threads: (i) Developmental outcomes, including food security; nutrition; health; economic growth and (ii) Mediating factors focusing on governance; and gender.