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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Ecosystem Approach to Small Scale Tropical Marine Fisheries

January 1, 2013

This is a 4-page brochure about a WorldFish led project. Throughout the world, poor fisheries management contributes to resource degradation, poverty, and food insecurity. This European Union project on an Ecosystem Approach to Small-scale Tropical Marine Fisheries is led by WorldFish and implemented in collaboration with national partners in Asia (Southeastern)-Indonesia; the Asia (Southeastern)-Philippines; the Solomon Islands and Tanzania. The overall objective is to use an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) to improve governance of small-scale fisheries (SSF). The EAFM puts sustainability and equitability at the forefront of fisheries governance which enhances their contribution to poverty reduction.Specific objectives are to: 1. Assess existing institutional arrangements and identify opportunities for an EAFM to improve integrated SSF management; 2. Develop EAFM strategies and actions suitable for developing country contexts; 3. Strengthen the capacity of local fishery stakeholders and government agencies to collaborate and work within an EAFM. The project is taking a participatory and gender sensitive approach, both core philosophies of WorldFish. Representatives of all relevant stakeholder groups are involved in this action research project.

Progress on Fishery Performance Indicators (FPIs)

January 1, 2012

This is the supplemental PowerPoint for the presentation given at the IIFET Conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Provides bulleted points regarding the progress, lessons learned, policy recommendations based on Fishery Performance Indicators under evaluation in both developed and developing countries.

Markets and Economies; Performance Indicators

Global Management Effectiveness Study: Integrated Social and Ecological Report for Non-node and Node Sites

April 1, 2010

The purpose of this study is to provide a critical assessment of the implementation, impact, and performance of Marine Managed Area (MMA) projects to serve as a basis for improved planning and implementation of new MMA projects worldwide. The specific objectives of the study are (1) to determine the socioeconomic, governance and ecological effects of MMAs; (2) to determine the critical factors influencing MMA effects, as well as the impact of the timing of those factors on the effects of the MMA; and (3) to provide tools for predicting MMA effects based on ecological, socioeconomic and governance variable.

Comparison of Approaches to Management of Large Marine Areas

January 1, 2010

In order to learn more about the different approaches to managing large-scale marine areas, their comparative merits, and the synergies and overlaps between them, Conservation International (CI) commissioned this independent analysis of several widely applied models. Since 2004, CI, together with a multitude of partners, has been developing the Seascapes model to manage large, multiple-use marine areas in which government authorities, private organizations, and other stakeholders cooperate to conserve the diversity and abundance of marine life and to promote human well-being. The definition of the Seascapes approach and the identification of the essential elements of a functioning Seascape were built from the ground up, informed by the extensive field experience of numerous marine management practitioners. Although the report was commissioned by CI, the views expressed in this report are those of the authors; they were charged with providing a critical examination of all the assessed approaches, including the Seascapes approach. This analysis provides a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. This will help us -- and, we hope, other readers -- to identify ways to work together to achieve even greater results through synergistic efforts.

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.

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.

Tanzanian Coastal and Marine Resources: Some Examples Illustrating Questions of Sustainable Use

December 1, 2001

This is Chapter 4 of the book Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use. The coast of Tanzania is characterised by a wide diversity of biotopes and species, typical of the tropical Indowest Pacific oceans, and the peoples living there utilise a variety of its natural resources. Because of the extent of the diversity and variety, several different examples are used by this study to elucidate the complexity of issues and multiplicity of management responses related to use of coastal and marine resources. It emerges that coastal management requires an integrated cross-sectoral approach to address the wide array of inter related issues involved.The study describes the status of selected resources from the principal biotopes (coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and beaches) as well as fish stocks, and it examines various forms of their utilisation. Some special cases of endangered species are also examined. The study attempts to analyse questions of sustainable use in relation to ecosystem dynamics, socio-economic processes, institutions and policies. The characteristics for what we consider as approaching a state of sustainable use are proposed, and the requirements considered necessary for ensuring sustainability are outlined. Past experience and the current status of coastal and marine resource uses are summarised through the examples chosen in order to explain the main constraints to the attainment of sustainability. Cross cutting issues related to the breakdown of traditional management systems for common property resources in the face of increasing commercialisation, privatisation, and external interventions appear to pose general problems. The general experiences of community projects, legislation, and mitigation measures are assessed from the examples we have chosen.

Factors Influencing the Sustainability of Resource Use and Management Within Multiple Use Marine Protected Areas

December 1, 2001

Chapter 6 in the book Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use. Multiple Use Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have emerged as an important mechanism in the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. This study investigates whether there are common factors that enhance or constrain the sustainability of resource use and management within the MPAs. A comparative analysis of resource use patterns and associated socio-economic, socio-political, and institutional factors was carried out in four MPAs: Hikkaduwa Nature Reserve (Sri Lanka), Mafia Island Marine Park (Tanzania), Hon Mun Marine Protected Area (Vietnam), and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Australia). In this investigation a simple analytic framework was used. This was broadly based on a framework developed by the Sustainable Use Specialist Group (SUSG) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (Annex 1), and on a matrix developed by Ticco (1995) to analyse MPAs. The modified framework used provided a means of inter-regional comparison of marine protected areas and the resource use activities taking place within their boundaries.

Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use, Conclusion

December 1, 2001

The conclusion of Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use summarizes the overarching lessons learned from the case studies provided in the volume. 1. Sustainability of uses of renewable natural resources is dependent on the existence of a 'sustainable society'at the local, national and global levels. 2. Successful biological conservation is a function of equity and democracy. 3. To achieve greater sustainability of uses of natural resources will likely require modification of the roles of organizations and government agencies in authority. 4. The current conservation paradigm of Protected Areas (including as applied to the 'biodiversity hotspots'concept) may not be economically viable in many developing countries, simply because the opportunitycosts often exceed the value local people receive from their existence. National and international agencies and organizations realize most of the value from designation of protected areas and 'hotspots'. 5. It is not possible to transpose directly the combination of factors that influence one case to another site, and expect the same impact or result.6. Donor agencies and/or central government policies need to consider management requirements beyond project cycles in order to promote long-term sustainability of resource uses.7. External factors such as war and natural disasters can have an over-riding influence on the sustainability of resource use. 8. Interventions on key resources by external institutions often pressure transformation of local governance systems. The impact of these changes is often overlooked. More specific observations of common features. Furthermore, the conclusion provides lessons related to policy, social processes, institutions, and information.

Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use, Preface Page

December 1, 2001

This preface page of the volume Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use, provides a summary of the book's purpose and structure. Enhancing sustainability requires a multidisciplinary approach. Because there is such diversity in resources, uses, and users, there is no universal formula, yet to promote, or assess, practices in context is essential. Without this capacity approaches to sustainable use will remain superficial and ineffective.The present volume presents six detailed cases of uses of different facets of biological diversity in Africa (East, West and Southern), Central Asia and South America-Latin America;. The objective of the project was to identify 'Lessons Learned' from examples of sustainable use. To address this objective, six cases were selected because they had been implemented for several years and they were being implemented in different regions, thus enhancing the potential for identifying key lessons. Each of the case studies was examined using an 'Analytic Framework for Assessing the Factors that Influence Sustainability of Uses of Wild Living Natural Resources' The Analytic Framework (Annex 1) provided a consistent, systematic approach to the analysis of the cases according to 'domains of issues' considered important in assessing sustainability, including inter alia, ecological processes and functions, economic factors, societal and institutional factors.