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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Funding for Small-scale Fisheries A Landscape Overview

October 31, 2016

This report examines support for small-scale fishery projects, and provides an overview of Rare's Fish Forever initiative.Key findings include:Funding from Foundations-Between 2007 to 2015, we identified $91 million in grants directed towards small-scale fishing (SSF) projects. An additional $136 million in grants was directed towards projects that may be relevant for small-scale fisheries, but it is not clear from the grant description –most of these grants are for marine protected areas. In sum, this is ~$10-$23 million per year in grants to projects that are potentially relevant for SSF.-Approximately 0.5% of all foundation grantmaking goes to marine conservation, and  we estimate that between 5-12% of that is directed to SSF relevant projects.Funding from DFI's-Based on a review of the funding of seven major DFIs (World Bank, GEF, IADB, ADB, KfW, AfDB, and CAF) from 2000-2016, we identified $1.825 billion of investment in SSF related projects. An additional $4.351 billion was invested in projects that may be relevant for small-scale fisheries (e.g., coastal zone management). In sum this amounts to  ~$107-$363 million per year of funding from these DFIs for projects that are potentially relevant for SSF.-SSF related projects made up less than 0.5%on average of the DFI's portfolios.

Financing, Funding, and Investment

Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security: Integrated Approaches to Addressing Multiple Challenges in the Coral Triangle

July 1, 2013

The Coral Triangle is the most biologically and economically valuable marine ecosystem on the planet. Covering just three percent of the globe, the region represents more than half of the world's reefs and boasts 76 percent of its known coral species. Sustaining more than 130 million people who rely directly on the marine ecosystems for their livelihoods and food, the marine habitats of the Coral Triangle contribute billions of dollars each year toward the economies of the region.Although the environmental imperative for preserving this area of incredible value and biodiversity is obvious, the growing pressures and threats from widespread poverty, rapid development, and global demands continue to place enormous strain on the natural marine resources of the Coral Triangle.

Economic Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Selected Coastal Areas in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam

January 1, 2013

This report is an account of a cross-country study that covered Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Covering four sites (one each in Indonesia and Vietnam) and two sites in the Philippines, the study documented the impacts of three climate hazards affecting coastal communities, namely typhoon/flooding, coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion. It also analyzed planned adaptation options, which communities and local governments can implement, as well as autonomous responses of households to protect and insure themselves from these hazards. It employed a variety of techniques, ranging from participatory based approaches such as community hazard mapping and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to regression techniques, to analyze the impact of climate change and the behavior of affected communities and households.

Regional Workshop on Co-management in Small-Scale Fisheries: Lessons Learned and Best Practices 12-13 December 2012, Bangkok, Thailand

December 1, 2012

An FAO project, the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme, which is funded by Spain, has worked with the Timorese authorities and coastal communities to build local capacity and put in place effective methods to gather a variety of important fisheries data. This is used to help make important decisions relating to the management of the nation's fisheries sector. These actions, which are detailed in this publication, have been carried out at relatively little expense and in a participatory manner that has engaged communities while at the same time providing practical skills to all involved.

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

Spatial Planning in the Coastal Zone of the East Asian Seas Region: Integrating Emerging Issues and Modern Management Approaches

November 1, 2011

This regional resource document, produced for the East Asian Sea region, integrates emerging issues such as climate change and sea-level rise, and new management concepts such as ecosystem-based management, disaster risk reduction and results-based management into spatial planning and coastal zone management procedures and processes. It is intended to be used as the basis for individual country consultations on their national needs and priorities for capacity building in spatial planning, which may be in the area of mapping and scenario exercises on climate change vulnerability, risk analysis and planning exercises, or perhaps a more basic understanding of how to integrate the principles of ecosystem-based management into existing national spatial planning regimes.

Coming Together: Sharing Lessons from the 2008 LMMA Network-wide Meeting Community Exchange 5-7 November 2008, Fiji

February 4, 2011

The Community Storybook is a collection of lessons, tips and experiences shared during the Community Exchange session at the 2008 LMMA Network-wide Meeting in Fiji. It is not intended as a comprehensive guide for community-based adaptive management (CBAM), but rather as a record capturing the key points from conversations shared by participants. It is intenteded to be strateigically introduced to communities -- that is, as part of a workshop or community awareness event, rather then simply handed out indiscriminately. We recommend to the folks on the ground who are introducing it (partners, country coordinators, etc.) to leave ample time for elaboration and discussion of the tips provided in the storybook, particularly the more sensitive or debatable ones.

Sustainable Livelihoods Enhancement and Diversification (SLED): A Manual for Practitioners

January 1, 2008

The aim of this document is to provide development practitioners with an introduction to the SLED process as well as guidance for practitioners facilitating that process. The Sustainable Livelihoods Enhancement and Diversification (SLED) approach has been developed by Integrated Marine Management Ltd (IMM) through building on the lessons of past livelihoods research projects as well as worldwide experience in livelihood improvement and participatory development practice. It aims to provide a set of guidelines for development and conservation practitioners whose task it is to assist people in enhancing and diversifying their livelihoods. Under the Coral Reefs and Livelihoods Initiative (CORALI), this approach has been field tested and further developed in very different circumstances and institutional settings, in six sites across South Asia and Indonesia. While this process of testing and refining SLED has been carried out specifically in the context of efforts to manage coastal and marine resources, it is an approach that can be applied widely wherever natural resources are facing degradation because of unsustainable human use. The SLED approach provides a framework within which diverse local contexts and the local complexities of livelihood change can be accommodated.

Fisheries Policy Content and Direction in Asian APFIC Member Countries

January 1, 2006

This review by the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) examines the trends in fisheries and aquaculture policy in selected countries in Asia. The analysis is based on national policy documents and relevant literature as well as feedback from fisheries officials/experts in the region. The review assesses the policy status and trends relating to the use of development and/or management targets, natural resource management issues, financial, economic and marketing issues, and socio-economic and poverty issues. Individual country information was analysed to generate a regional synthesis of fisheries and aquaculture policy content and direction in the region, and the key drivers for change. The review highlights the differences in fisheries and aquaculture policy between countries and also reveals a surprising degree of similarity between main policy directions and strategies used to manage the sector. Many governments have initiated recent policy changes, often as a result of awareness about international views, policy changes/norms in other countries, and emerging ideas about what constitutes "best practice". In some cases donor projects and assistance have also been an important catalyst for policy change. The regional review suggests that much policy in the region is already well specified and that, while countries could certainly improve their policy content, greater challenges may lie in implementing policy rather than in improving policy itself.

Policy and Legislative Frameworks for Co-management

January 1, 2005

This paper was prepared by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd and the FAO Development Law Service (LEGN) for the Asia-Pacific Fisheries Commission workshop on Mainstreaming Fisheries Co-management in Asia-Pacific, which was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 9 to 12 August 2005. The paper examines the policy and legislative frameworks for co-management in thirteen countries in Asia and the Pacific, and the extent to which these frameworks hinder or support co-management practices. Through an analysis of the different case studies, 'lessons learned' are presented and a number of conclusions are drawn about the key characteristics of a supportive policy and legislative framework based on some ideas about 'best practice'. The adoption of these characteristics by governments would demonstrate their commitment to co-management and increase the likelihood of co-management success.