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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Adapting Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change: Management Measures, Policies and Investments

February 2, 2012

This chapter sets out the information needed by stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture sector at all levels to reduce the threats and capitalise on the opportunities created by climate change The authors emphasise that adaptations and policies to build the resilience of the Pacific communities to climate change. should not be viewed just from a scientific or technical perspective - the needs and aspirations of people must also be integrated. Understanding how people are affected, and how their traditional knowledge, capacities and perspectives can help develop and implement adaptations is a vital part of the process. Community consultation and participation are essential to ensure that adaptations incorporate a human rights and human development approach to achieve gender equality, maintain relevant traditional customs and culture, and empower young people.

Environmental Conservation and Restoration; Knowledge Systems; Rights and Legal Frameworks

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