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.

Search this collection

Clear all

9 results found

reorder grid_view

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.

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.

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.

A Community-Based Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management: Guidelines for Pacific Islands Countries

January 1, 2010

These guidelines have been developed to meet the aspirations of Pacific Island countries (PIC) as stated in the Pacific Islands regional coastal fisheries management policy and strategic actions (known as the Apia Policy) in which authorities agreed to take steps to achieve healthy ecosystems and sustainable stock of fish. These guidelines have been produced to describe how an EAF can be merged with community-based fisheries management (CBFM) in PICs. This merger of approaches is referred to in these guidelines as the community-based ecosystem approach to fisheries management (CEAFM), and represents a combination of three different perspectives; namely, fisher-es management, ecosystem management and community-based management. CEAFM is the management of fisheries, within an ecosystem context, by local communities working with government and other partners. The main requirement for such a merger is the involvement of a broader range of stakeholders and access to the expertise and experience of several government agencies in addition to a fisheries agency. CEAFM is not seen as a replacement for current fisheries management but an extension that combines a high degree of community and other stakeholder participation to minimise the impacts of fishing and other activities on ecosystems. In addition to fishing activities, coastal ecosystems in many PICs are affected by excessive shoreline development and by coastal waters that contain high levels of nutrients and silt. CEAFM aims to involve the participation of community stakeholders to ensure that future generations of Pacific Island people will continue to have access to the benefits associated with sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems.

Towards Sustainable Fisheries Management: International Examples of Innovation

January 1, 2010

Fisheries change often carries its own financial rewards. Many reforms and changes which support conservation also result in higher profits and revenue streams for the involved businesses. This makes fisheries a potentially attractive investment arena for many commercial investors, once reform projects are properly structured and agreed upon between conservationists and the involved businesses. As commercial investors and social investors become more involved in the field of fisheries, the scale of the impacts that can be achieved is expected to expand. Foundations in the field are now looking to support this transition from fisheries conservation as a purely philanthropic investment to a blended conservation and business investment by encouraging non-profits, social change leaders and business entrepreneurs to create innovatively structured projects that can both build value for private investors and improve the speed and scale of fisheries conservation impacts. This report aims to support this transition, by providing information about and high-lighting the work of those at the forefront of innovative fisheries finance.

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.

Creating Legal Space for Community-based Fisheries and Customary Marine Tenure in the Pacific: Issues and Opportunities

January 1, 2004

The legal environment within which community-based fisheries management (CBFM) will function should be examined to determine whether it supports or will need necessary enhancement to support the implementation of CBFM. The question as to whether CBFM is legally sustainable must be asked with regard to the whole legal framework of the State – from fundamental laws, such as the constitution, to subsidiary legislation. Amendments to existing legislation or new legislation may be necessary to implement CBFM. There is no blueprint for a CBFM legal framework what number of rights with respect to fish resources should be accorded and what should be the level of participation by the local community. It is important, however, to ensure that the constitutionality of all these aspects is ascertained, and to ensure that enabling legislation for CBFM consider the following issues: security, exclusivity and permanence of rights vested; flexibility of its provisions so as to allow states to exercise choices that reflect their unique needs, conditions and aspirations for CBFM; and the way CBFM harmonizes with the overall fisheries management legal framework. Attaining the right balance in the CBFM legal framework, however, is difficult and depends largely on local circumstances. There is much interest in using customary marine tenure (CMT) as a basis for CBFM in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs). The laws of PICs lend general support to the use of CMT or tradition in fisheries management. Still, only modest efforts in the use of CMT-based community fisheries management in the PICs are observed. Further legislative action can enhance CMT use in community fisheries management. Broad lessons can be drawn from the experiences of some PICs in legislating on CMT or certain of its aspects to enhance CMT use. Government commitment to CBFM generally, and for the role of CMT in the CBFM context with support from interested entities and stakeholders including communities, will complement efforts for promoting sustainable utilization of fisheries resources and improved livelihoods in the PICs. Keywords: community-based fisheries management, customary marine tenure, fisheries legislation, legal frameworks, Pacific Island Countries.

The Fishery Effects of Marine Reserves and Fishery Closures

January 1, 2002

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Coordination (CTA) approved a project "Implementing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy: positioning and engaging fisherfolk organisations". The project is being implemented by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) in collaboration with the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) and other partners. The project purpose is to facilitate continuous engagement of fisherfolk organisations with policy processes and decision-makers for the implementation of key regional fisheries policies. It focuses on three specific policy areas: (1) finalisation and adoption of the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CFP); (2) operationalization of the Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing; and (3) mainstreaming of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in small-scale fisheries governance and management. As the first activity of this project, a four-day consultation was held between February 25 and 28, 2013 at the Grand Coastal Hotel in Guyana. The consultation was aimed at better expressing the needs and determining the arrangements to facilitate the continuous engagement of fisherfolk organisations with policy processes and decision-makers for the implementation of key regional fisheries policies. The desired outputs of the consultation were: (1) needs, expectations and demands (with respect to capacity enhancement) from fisherfolk on regional and national fisheries issues better expressed; (2) common positions of fisherfolk' organizations on finalization and adoption of Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, operationalization of the Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration on IUU Fishing, and mainstreaming of EAF, CCA and DRM in small-scale fisheries governance and management; (3) mechanisms and tools for sound governance, monitoring and evaluation of the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy, Castries (St. Lucia) Declaration on IUU fishing and EAF, CCA and DRM; (4) arrangements for continuous information and knowledge sharing and engagement of fisherfolk organisations with regional and national policy processes and decision makers; and (5) advocacy strategy for fisherfolk organizations outlined. The workshop was attended by fisherfolk leaders from 14 CARIFORUM countries and six partner organisations, and facilitated by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI). This report summarizes the discussions, presentations, workshops, and recommendations generated from that CRFM/CNFO/CTA Consultation.