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

The Isda Strategy : An Investment Blueprint for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Philippines

January 11, 2016

Encourage Capital has worked with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Rockefeller Foundation to develop an impact investing strategy supporting the implementation of sustainable fishing practices in a portfolio of small-scale fisheries in the Philippines. The Isda Strategy1 is a hypothetical $11.7 million impact investment to protect and restore small-scale fisheries spanning 80 communities across the Philippine archipelago and at least 20 species. The $11.7 million would fund the implementation of fisheries management improvements across both pelagic and nearshore fisheries, and be used to expand a seafood processing and distribution company producing premium seafood products, sourced from small-scale fishers, for both domestic and export markets. The Isda Strategy has the potential to generate a 20.7% base case equity return, while simultaneously protecting the multispecies stock biomass from current and future overfishing, enhancing the livelihoods of up to 19,000 fishers across 80 fishing communities, and safeguarding the supply of 6.7 million meals-to-market annually.

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.

An Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) in Misamis Occidental, Philippines

January 1, 2013

This is a 4-page brochure regarding a WorldFish led project in the Philippines. WorldFish, with funding support from the European Commission (EC), is undertaking a project with sites in Asia (Southeastern)-Indonesia; Asia (Southeastern)-Philippines; Solomon Islands and Tanzania. Titled Implementing an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) in Small-scale Tropical Marine Fisheries, the project commenced in December 2011 and is set to finish by December 2014. The project has adopted an EAF framework with the aim of improving small-scale fisheries (SSF) management in the four countries -- a significant step to help reduce poverty. The project has adopted an EAF framework with the aim of improving small-scale fisheries (SSF) management in the four countries -- a significant step to help reduce poverty. The three sequential objectives that frame the project are to: i) Assess existing institutional arrangements and understand how an EAF can contribute to more effective integrated SSF management; ii) Identify and pilot EAF strategies and actions that are appropriate for developing countries; iii) Strengthen the capacity of target groups to collaborate and work within the EAF. In the Philippines component of the project, the site covers eight coastal municipalities in the Province of Misamis Occidental, Mindanao. All eight municipalities belong to one group known as the Iligan Bay Alliance of Misamis Occidental (IBAMO). IBAMO enables a collaborative approach toward EAF, displaying a unified commitment to the objectives and expected outputs of the EC/WorldFish project.

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.

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.

Towards Sustainable Development of Small-Scale Fisheries in the Philippines: Experiences and Lessons Learned from Eight Regional Sites

January 1, 2012

The focus of this paper is on the governance of small-scale or municipal fisheries in the Philippines in light of the critical role they play in the livelihoods of coastal communities and in the nation as a whole. The information and insights presented in this lessons learned brief derive from the project entitled Strengthening Governance and Sustainability of Small-Scale Fisheries Management in the Philippines: An Ecosystem Approach. The project was funded principally by the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR), and implemented from 2008 to 2011 by WorldFish in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and selected partners. The underlying project's goal was to 'strengthen governance and sustainability of small-scale fisheries management in the Philippines.' There were a variety of objectives spread across two project phases but the primary objectives relevant to this brief include: (1) identifying issues at project sites and assessing potential for an ecosystem based approach to fisheries management, and (2) assessing current fisheries management practices at different levels of governance and identifying best practices. The purposes of this paper are twofold. First, it aims to provide brief highlights of the project findings; second, it aims to present the lessons learned in project implementation covering substantive sectoral concerns as well as methodological issues. It wraps up with some strategic directions that need to be undertaken to reverse the deteriorating conditions of small-scale fisheries (SSF) while at the same time promoting their sustainable development.

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.

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.