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.

Cross-node Socioeconomic and Governance Assessments of MMAs

April 14, 2011

This report is concerned with the socioeconomic and governance dimension of Marine Managed Areas (MMAs), targeting key issues that still impede the design and implementation of MMAs. It looks into the objectives of the MMAs and which types of MMAs were effective at meeting their objectives. It evaluates how socio-economic (e.g., demographics) and governance (e.g. institutional frameworks and processes) characteristics impact on management effectiveness of MMAs (e.g. are wealthy communities correlated with more or less successful MMAs?). In general, this study assesses the social, economic and governance conditions of MMAs in North America (Central America)-Belize; South America (Northeastern)-Brazil; Oceania-Fiji; South America (Northwestern)-Ecuador; and North America (Central America)-Panama; in terms of their impact on factors such as economic development, quality of life, livelihoods, environmental awareness, stakeholder participation, and policy enforcement. The results will substantially contribute to the design and implementation of other socio-economic studies as well as to the employment of more effective MMA management practices in five countries and globally.

MMAS Project Synthesis: A Chapter in the MMAS Final Report to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

October 15, 2010

One chapter of the Marine Managed Area Science (MMAS) Final Narrative Report. This document is a technical summary and synthesis of lessons learned under MMAS in its initial five years, under a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. MMAS encompassed the efforts of 100+ senior investigators working on about 50 related and sometimes overlapping projects. The program evolved gradually as individual projects were sequentially brought on line and woven together over the 5 years. Many MMAS participants saw the program through the eyes of their individual interests. Admittedly, few remained aware of the overarching goals and synthesis objectives of MMAS all the while that they were participants.For that reason, with the close of the grant, this document is part of a series of products that provide an integrated glimpse of the MMAS program, and the insights that it has begun to yield

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.