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 Study on Social Dimensions of MPA Practice in Central America: Cases Studies from Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panamá

March 1, 2013

This research focuses on the social dimensions of marine conservation, and makes an assessment of the experiences of coastal and fishing communities with regard to the governance of MPAs in North America (Central America); based on case studies from Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and North America (Central America)-Panama;. It examines the national contexts of the above countries in relation to the governance of MPAs. Furthermore, it analyzes the social impacts of MPAs on coastal communities by gathering the experiences and the voices of the communities and institutions involved, and reflects on how to build bridges in the search for forms and models of conservation that respect human rights and which are able to successfully integrate into local development efforts without affecting cultural and/or social patterns. To this end, this monograph looks at nine case studies across the region: in Honduras, the Islas de la Bahia-Guanaja Marine National Park, the Cayos Cochinos Marine Archipelago Natural Monument, and the Cuero and Salado Wildlife Refuge; in Nicaragua, the Chacocente Wildlife Refuge; in North America (Central America)-Costa Rica; the Guanacaste Conservation Area, the Ballena Marine National Park and the Golfo Dulce Responsible Fishing Area; and, in North America (Central America)-North America (Central America)-Panama; the Nargana Protected Area, in the Comarca de la Biosfera Guna-Yala, the Bastimentos Island Marine National Park, and Bocas del Toro.

Report of the CRFM/CNFO/CTA Consultation on the Implementation and Mainstreaming of Regional Fisheries Policies into Small-Scale fisheries Governance Arrangements in the Caribbean

January 1, 2013

This report reviews the methods available for assessing the impacts of interactions between species and fisheries and their implications for marine fisheries management. A brief description of the various modelling approaches currently in existence is provided, highlighting in particular features of these models which have general relevance to the field of the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF). The report concentrates on the currently available models representative of general types such as bionergetic models, predator-prey models and minimally realistic models. Short descriptions are given of model parameters, assumptions and data requirements. Some of the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of each of the approaches in addressing questions pertaining to EAF are discussed. The report concludes with some recommendations for moving forward in the development of multi-species and ecosystem models and for the prudent use of the currently available models as tools for provision of scientific information on fisheries in an ecosystem context.

Report of the JICA/CRFM Workshop: Promoting the Development of Good Practices for Fisheries Management and Development, 25-27 July 2012, St. Vincent and the Grenadine

September 25, 2012

This report documents the JICA/CRFM workshops and presentations held on July 25-27, 2012. At the workshops, presenters from CFRM, CARICOM and CARIFORUM States exchanged information on good practices for fisheries management and development in the region, discussed the potential and limitations of co-management, registration and licensing systems, data collection and management systems, and outlined action plans for the effective management of specific fisheries such as those for conch, lobster, and pelagics caught around fish aggregating devices (FADs).

CRFM Consultancy Report on Review of Existing Policy, Legal and Institutional Arrangements for Governance and Management of Flyingfish Fisheries in the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem

May 1, 2012

Many of the marine resources in the Caribbean are considered to be fully or overexploited. A Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis identified three priority transboundary problems that affect the CLME: unsustainable exploitation of fish and other living resources, the degradation and modification of natural habitats, pollution and contamination. The fourwing flyingfish fishery is the single most important small pelagic fishery in the southern Lesser Antilles. It is a shared resource, which has been traditionally exploited by seven different States, i.e. Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. With expanding fleet capacity and limited cooperation among the States exploiting the flyingfish, there is concern that the resource may become overfished. While the flyingfish fishery is a directed fishery, it is at the same time part of a multi-species, multi-gear fishery, which also targets regional large pelagic species.This case study identifies and analyses the priority transboundary problems and issues. The policy, legal and institutional reforms needed to address such transboundary issues and achieve long-term conservation and sustainable use of the resources are also identified. A major and necessary component of the case study is an evaluation of the existing policy cycles and linkages among the countries and institutions involved with the flyingfish fishery.

Baseline Review of the Status and Management of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster Fisheries in the Caricom Region

January 1, 2011

This report provides a review of the status and management of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster Fisheries in the CARICOM region. It provides a general overview of the habitat requirements and threats to survival of this lobster, along with the distribution and population in each country with Caribbean Spiny Lobster Fisheries. Each country's domestic use, international trade, and conservation and management measures are also reviewed.

Coastal Fisheries of South America and the Caribbean

January 1, 2011

The importance of fisheries for coastal communities and livelihoods in South America-Latin America; and the Caribbean (LAC) is well documented. This is particularly the case for 'coastal fisheries', including subsistence, traditional (artisanal) and advanced artisanal (or semi-industrial) varieties. There are, however, major gaps in knowledge about these fisheries, and major challenges in their assessment and management. Therein lies the key theme of this document, which seeks to contribute to a better understanding of coastal fisheries in the LAC region, as well as to generate discussion about ways to move towards sustainable fisheries. The document includes three main components. First, an introductory chapter provides an overview of general trends in the fisheries of the LAC countries, as well as some of the key challenges they are facing in terms of sustainability. Second, a set of twelve chapters each reporting on the coastal fisheries of one country in South America-Latin America; and the North America (Caribbean); collectively covering fisheries of each main subregion: the Caribbean islands (North America (Caribbean)-North America (Caribbean)-Barbados; Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago), North and Central America (North America (Central America)-Costa Rica; Mexico) and South America (Argentina, South America (Northeastern)-Brazil; South America (Northwestern)-South America (Northwestern)-Colombia; Uruguay). All these country-specific chapters follow an integrated approach, to the extent possible, covering aspects ranging from the biological to the socio-economic. Third, the final component of the document contains a synthesis of information from the countries examined, an analysis of the main issues and challenges faced by the various fisheries, an outline of policy directions to improve fisheries management systems in the LAC region, identification of routes toward more integrated approaches for coastal fisheries management, and recommendations for 'ways forward' in dealing with fishery assessment and governance issues in the region.

Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Service Payments and Markets

December 6, 2010

A supplemental PowerPoint developed by Forest Trend's MARES program with bullet points on marine and coastal ecosystem service payments and markets.

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.

Comparison of Approaches to Management of Large Marine Areas

January 1, 2010

In order to learn more about the different approaches to managing large-scale marine areas, their comparative merits, and the synergies and overlaps between them, Conservation International (CI) commissioned this independent analysis of several widely applied models. Since 2004, CI, together with a multitude of partners, has been developing the Seascapes model to manage large, multiple-use marine areas in which government authorities, private organizations, and other stakeholders cooperate to conserve the diversity and abundance of marine life and to promote human well-being. The definition of the Seascapes approach and the identification of the essential elements of a functioning Seascape were built from the ground up, informed by the extensive field experience of numerous marine management practitioners. Although the report was commissioned by CI, the views expressed in this report are those of the authors; they were charged with providing a critical examination of all the assessed approaches, including the Seascapes approach. This analysis provides a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. This will help us -- and, we hope, other readers -- to identify ways to work together to achieve even greater results through synergistic efforts.

Coastal Resource Management in the Wider Caribbean: Resilience, Adaptation, and Community Diversity

January 1, 2006

The Caribbean Sea is the second largest sea in the world, including more than 30 insular and continental countries with an approximate population of 35 million. In addition to its highly fractionalized territory, it is characterized by a great linguistic and cultural diversity, a phenomenon enhanced by increasing internal migrations and the expansion of tourism. The implementation of coastal management programs, often embedded in top-down approaches, is therefore faced with a series of ecological and social constraints, explaining why they have had only limited success. This book presents an alternative look at existing coastal management initiatives in the North America (Caribbean); focusing on the need to pay more attention to the local community. Emphasizing the great heterogeneity of Caribbean communities, the book shows how the diversity of ecosystems and cultures has generated a significant resilience and capacity to adapt, in which the notion of community itself has to be re-examined. The concluding chapter presents lessons learned and a series of practical recommendations for decision-makers.

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.

Report of the FAO/CRFM/MALMR Regional Workshop on the Collection of Demographic Information on Coastal Fishing Communities and its Use in Community-Based Fisheries and Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Caribbean

July 28, 2005

One part of the two-part Science-to-Action Guidebook. The other part was intended for scientists, and this part is for decision-makers. Recognizing the importance of informed decisions and the differences between the scientific and decision-making processes, this guidebook provides practical tips on how to best bring these worlds together. In doing so, this guidebook emphasizes the roles of facilitating, synthesizing, translating, and communicating science to inform conservation action. It is geared toward the perspective of decision-makers working in tropical developing nations and focusing on marine resource management issues. However, the concepts are applicable to a broad range of scientists and decision-makers worldwide.