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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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.

Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) Activity 1.5 (2011): Systems and Procedures for Participatory Monitoring of Management Measures Developed, Introduced and Implemented-catch Monitoring

January 1, 2012

Coastal fisheries are very essential for supporting the livelihoods of many rural poor in the coastal areas, particularly coastal community fisheries members. They serve as sources of food, employment and income generation for many coastal families. "Coastal Community Fisheries Catch Monitoring" Project which was conducted from April to November 2011 provides some data which indicates the importance of small-scale fisheries. The project was financially supported by the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme, Cambodian component (RFLP/CMB) and was activity 1.5 of the approved RFLP CMB 2011 activity work plan and budget. For this catch monitoring study, 26 small-scale subsistence fishers, including 05 women, from five community fisheries (CFi?s) in the RFLP CMB area of geographic coverage from the four coastal provinces of Cambodia were selected and following appropriate training collected specific catch data and recorded it in fisher's logbook on a daily basis for the purpose of getting a better understanding of catch per unit of effort (CEPU), the health of inshore fish stock and the contribution of aquatic products to small-scale fisher households along the coast of Cambodia. The key data items recorded included total catchweight, catch weight by species, total catch sale price, fish price of the main species and total lengths of some key species. The study involved designing logbooks, training the selected 26 fishers as data collectors on data collection methods, collecting data from all the selected fishers, designing a database and entering all the collected data into the database, checking for errors and analyzing the collected data for final reporting and preparing report.

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.

The Strategic Planning Framework for Fisheries: 2010-2019 Cambodia

July 14, 2011

The Strategic Planning Framework sets out the Kingdom of Cambodia's Royal Government's vision for the future of the fisheries sector in Cambodia and describes the goals that must be reached in order to implement it. Its purpose is to support the achievement of Cambodia's Millennium Development Goals, implementation of the National Strategic Development Plan, and compliance with the Law on Fisheries, to the benefit of the people of Cambodia. It describes the overarching strategic context, and the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. It lays out the Royal Government's strategic priorities for sustaining and developing the sector and includes targets for this sustainment and development. It is intended for the guidance of all stakeholders in the fisheries sector and to give provenance and guidance to their supporting development and action plans and, particularly, the plans and actions of the Fisheries Administration (FiA). A second supporting Volume, 'Feeding Growth', is also available and contains the detailed descriptions, analysis and justification that have been instrumental in the process of formulating this Strategic Planning Framework.

Livelihood Approaches and Fisheries Management in the Lower Mekong Basin

July 1, 2006

Known as livelihood approaches, this new way of looking at fisheries management is becoming increasingly common, particularly with development agencies and other organisations. However, there is a perception that the concept of livelihoods and livelihood approaches is not well understood or taken-up by policymakers and fisheries managers. Recognising this, the technical advisory Body for Fisheries Management (TAB) commissioned the STREAM initiative to review previous studies that used livelihood approaches to evaluate fisheries and fishing communities in the Lower Mekong Basin. This information serves to illustrate the characteristics, benefits and practical use of livelihood approaches in fisheries management and development. STREAM also made a series of recommendations that would help the uptake and implementation of these approaches in the future.

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.

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.

Understanding the Factors that Support or Inhibit Livelihood Diversification in Coastal Cambodia

September 1, 2005

The DFID funded Aquatic Resource Dependency and Benefit Flows Project (ARDB) was a short research project (from January 2005 until August 2005) implemented by IMM of the UK, the Community Fisheries Development Office (CFDO) of the Department of Fisheries (DoF) and the Community Based Natural Resource Management Learning Institute (CBNRM LI), both based in Cambodia. It had two aims: 1) to build capacity amongst government and NGO staff in understanding the importance of livelihood diversification as a potential tool for natural resource management, and 2) to further our understanding of how factors that support or inhibit rural household diversification may apply in the Cambodian coastal context and beyond. The current report reviews the background to, and the findings of, that research.

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.

Policy Reform Impact Assessment, Cambodia: Impacts of the Fisheries Policy Reforms in Kampong Cham, Pursat and Takeo Provinces

January 1, 2004

This assessment report created in 2004 provides a review of the fisheries policy reforms introduced in Cambodia in October 2000 and the impacts of these reforms on poverty in Cambodia, on food security, on ecology, on institutional arragements, on fisheries resources and on different fisheries stakeholders.