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.

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.

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.

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.