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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Catch Shares in Action: Samoan Safata District Customary User Rights Program

January 1, 2013

The Samoan Customary User Rights System is an area-based catch share program that formalizes the customary fishing rights of native communities. Authorized by legislative reforms, fishing communities voluntarily establish and manage Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURFs) in traditional fishing areas. The program has been designed to meet the goals of sustainable resource use and empowering villages in fishery management. Key design features include the active participation of the Samoan government in guiding the creation and management of TURFs and the integration of traditional management practices to achieve sustainability. In Safata District, community members have established a district-wide TURF with a network of no-take reserves to increase biological performance and sustain local livelihoods into the future.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

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.