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.

Success Stories in Asian Aquaculture

January 1, 2009

The stories presented in this book reflect the unique nature of Asian aquaculture, providing first-time insight into how and why it has become so successful. Overall, the book demonstrates how the resiliency, adaptability, and innovation of small-scale aquaculture farmers have been crucial to this success. It also places aquaculture development in Asia into a wider global context, and describes its relationship to natural systems, social conditions, and economics. The book is unique in its in-depth presentation of primary research on Asian aquaculture, and in demonstrating how aquaculture can have a lasting positive impact on livelihoods, food security, and sustainable development.

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.

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.