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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Collaboration for Small-Scale Fisheries Reform. Lessons in Collective Impact for Systemic Change

February 23, 2016

As a worldwide collaboration of NGOs, businesses, funders, and governments, 50in10 aimed to help its partners take promising tools and approaches in small-scale fisheries restoration to the next level by testing, strengthening, and replicating them. In January 2016, 50in10 brought together three dozen 50in10 network members and stakeholders in Belize City to learn from one another, explore financing models, innovate new approaches, and discuss how network members could continue to replicate successes. The framework of the 50in10 Theory of Change—a collective impact approach in which community empowerment, policy reform, credible science, and market demand work together—as well as collaborative learning guided the convening. Participants prioritized sustainable financing, community engagement, scientific data, and enforcement and compliance as key areas in which innovation is needed to overcome obstacles to reform, and developed ideas for how to address these challenges.

Towards Sustainable Fisheries Management: International Examples of Innovation

January 1, 2010

Fisheries change often carries its own financial rewards. Many reforms and changes which support conservation also result in higher profits and revenue streams for the involved businesses. This makes fisheries a potentially attractive investment arena for many commercial investors, once reform projects are properly structured and agreed upon between conservationists and the involved businesses. As commercial investors and social investors become more involved in the field of fisheries, the scale of the impacts that can be achieved is expected to expand. Foundations in the field are now looking to support this transition from fisheries conservation as a purely philanthropic investment to a blended conservation and business investment by encouraging non-profits, social change leaders and business entrepreneurs to create innovatively structured projects that can both build value for private investors and improve the speed and scale of fisheries conservation impacts. This report aims to support this transition, by providing information about and high-lighting the work of those at the forefront of innovative fisheries finance.

Fishery Co-management: A Practical Handbook

January 1, 2006

For many years, Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has maintained an active portfolio of projects examining co-management and community-based management in fisheries and other resource systems. Since the publication of Managing Small-scale Fisheries (Berkes et al., 2001), there has been an increasing demand for guidance on what IDRC has learned about co-management, particularly across different geographical settings, socio-economic conditions, and histories of operation; and how it could apply to other types of fishing, link to other livelihoods, relate to other dynamic processes (such as the migration of fishermen), and respond to the seasonal nature of fish resources. This book attempts to respond to this demand by compiling recent experience from as wide a cross section of research as possible. During the development of this book, both IDRC and the authors wrestled with the concept of co-management. Given the evolving nature of this science, for example, what does co-management cover and how widely is the concept accepted? Importantly, there has been increasing acceptance of the idea that co-management is not an end point but rather a process -- a process of adaptive learning. Recognizing the diversity of both local contexts (ecological and social) and factors depleting the fishery (such as overfishing and habitat destruction), however, would it even be possible to put together a book of lessons learned? As you will soon discover, IDRC and the authors felt that it was neither possible nor desirable to produce a blueprint for fishery co-management. Rather, we agreed that it would be more useful to document the co-management process, as undertaken by both IDRC partners and others, and to put this experience into a form that could be shared with anyone interested in learning more about co-management and what others have learned. This shared and adaptive approach to learning is what this book is all about. In the pages that follow, you will find a complete picture of the co-management process: strengths, weaknesses, methods, activities, checklists and so on.

Anticipated Impacts of Recent Political Changes on Fisheries Management in South Africa

January 1, 2005

South Africa's marine resources are essentially fully exploited and in some cases over exploited. The Government of National Unity has embarked on the ambitious Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) to meet the basic needs, develop the country's human resources, build economy, and democratize the state and society. Although fisheries can only be expected to play a minor role in contributing to RDP, the Programme have a role to play in managing South Africa's living marine resources. The role of RDP in fisheries management is presented together with fisheries management approaches to help achieve the aims of the RDP.

The Fishery Effects of Marine Reserves and Fishery Closures

January 1, 2002

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Coordination (CTA) approved a project "Implementing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy: positioning and engaging fisherfolk organisations". The project is being implemented by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) in collaboration with the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) and other partners. The project purpose is to facilitate continuous engagement of fisherfolk organisations with policy processes and decision-makers for the implementation of key regional fisheries policies. It focuses on three specific policy areas: (1) finalisation and adoption of the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CFP); (2) operationalization of the Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing; and (3) mainstreaming of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in small-scale fisheries governance and management. As the first activity of this project, a four-day consultation was held between February 25 and 28, 2013 at the Grand Coastal Hotel in Guyana. The consultation was aimed at better expressing the needs and determining the arrangements to facilitate the continuous engagement of fisherfolk organisations with policy processes and decision-makers for the implementation of key regional fisheries policies. The desired outputs of the consultation were: (1) needs, expectations and demands (with respect to capacity enhancement) from fisherfolk on regional and national fisheries issues better expressed; (2) common positions of fisherfolk' organizations on finalization and adoption of Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, operationalization of the Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration on IUU Fishing, and mainstreaming of EAF, CCA and DRM in small-scale fisheries governance and management; (3) mechanisms and tools for sound governance, monitoring and evaluation of the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration on IUU fishing and EAF, CCA and DRM; (4) arrangements for continuous information and knowledge sharing and engagement of fisherfolk organisations with regional and national policy processes and decision makers; and (5) advocacy strategy for fisherfolk organizations outlined. The workshop was attended by fisherfolk leaders from 14 CARIFORUM countries and six partner organisations, and facilitated by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI). This report summarizes the discussions, presentations, workshops, and recommendations generated from that CRFM/CNFO/CTA Consultation.