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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Funding for Small-scale Fisheries A Landscape Overview

October 31, 2016

This report examines support for small-scale fishery projects, and provides an overview of Rare's Fish Forever initiative.Key findings include:Funding from Foundations-Between 2007 to 2015, we identified $91 million in grants directed towards small-scale fishing (SSF) projects. An additional $136 million in grants was directed towards projects that may be relevant for small-scale fisheries, but it is not clear from the grant description –most of these grants are for marine protected areas. In sum, this is ~$10-$23 million per year in grants to projects that are potentially relevant for SSF.-Approximately 0.5% of all foundation grantmaking goes to marine conservation, and  we estimate that between 5-12% of that is directed to SSF relevant projects.Funding from DFI's-Based on a review of the funding of seven major DFIs (World Bank, GEF, IADB, ADB, KfW, AfDB, and CAF) from 2000-2016, we identified $1.825 billion of investment in SSF related projects. An additional $4.351 billion was invested in projects that may be relevant for small-scale fisheries (e.g., coastal zone management). In sum this amounts to  ~$107-$363 million per year of funding from these DFIs for projects that are potentially relevant for SSF.-SSF related projects made up less than 0.5%on average of the DFI's portfolios.

Financing, Funding, and Investment

The Mangue Strategy : An Investment Blueprint for Small-Scale Fisheries in Brazil

January 11, 2016

Encourage Capital has worked with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Rockefeller Foundation to develop an impact investing strategy supporting the implementation of sustainable management and extraction practices in a small-scale fishery in Brazil. The Mangue Strategy (Mangue) is a hypothetical $15 million impact investment to protect the mangrove crab (Ucides cordatus) fishery in the Brazilian state of Pará. This $15 million investment would fund the implementation of critical management improvements across the fishery, and be used to launch a crab export business with a network of buying stations and a modern processing facility designed to meet both domestic and international food safety standards. The Mangue Strategy has the potential to generate a 12.0% levered equity return while protecting the mangrove crab stock biomass from current and future overfishing, enhancing up to 1,300 fisher livelihoods across 10 extractive reserves (RESEXs), and providing an additional 2.4 million seafood meals to market annually by Year 9. Additionally, the strategy would support the sustainable management of up to 300,000 hectares of critical coastal mangrove forest within the Amazon Delta, protecting and capturing the economic and ecosystem services of this delicate ecosystem.

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.

Marine Protected Areas: Country Case Studies on Policy, Governance and Institutional Issues

January 1, 2011

This document presents case studies of the policy, governance and institutional issues of marine protected areas (MPAs) in South America (Northeastern)-Brazil; India, Palau and Senegal. It is the first of four in a global series of case studies on MPAs. An initial volume provides a synthesis and analysis of all the studies. The set of global MPA case studies was designed to close a deficit in information on the governance of MPAs and spatial management tools, within both fisheries management and biodiversity conservation contexts. The studies examine governance opportunities in and constraints on the use of spatial management measures at the national level. They were also designed to inform implementation of the FAO Technical Guidelines on marine protected areas (MPAs) and fisheries, which were developed to provide information and guidance on the use of MPAs in the context of fisheries.

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.

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

Payments for Ecosystem Services: Legal and Institutional Frameworks

January 1, 2009

Analysis and engagement with partners working on ecosystem services transactions, policies and laws over the past 10 years have demonstrated a clear need to better understand the legal and institutional frameworks that have the potential to promote or hinder the development of payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes, as well as the complex legal considerations that affect ecosystem services projects. In response, the IUCN Environmental Law Centre and The Katoomba Group have worked on a joint initiative to analyze the legal and institutional frameworks of water-related PES schemes and projects in four Andean countries: South America (Northeastern)-Brazil; Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. It has resulted in this report. Country-based analysts with experience in ecosystem services transactions have developed country and project assessments to define existing and recommend future regulatory and institutional frameworks that enable equitable and long-lasting ecosystem services transactions. Partners from North America (Central America)-Costa Rica; North America-Mexico; Ecuador and the North America-United States provided feedback on the assessments. The country assessments yielded lessons which were used to develop a set of recommendations on legal frameworks, property rights, enabling institutions, PES contracts, and governance issues supporting the future development of PES schemes.