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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Collaboration for Small-Scale Fisheries Reform. Lessons in Collective Impact for Systemic Change

February 23, 2016

As a worldwide collaboration of NGOs, businesses, funders, and governments, 50in10 aimed to help its partners take promising tools and approaches in small-scale fisheries restoration to the next level by testing, strengthening, and replicating them. In January 2016, 50in10 brought together three dozen 50in10 network members and stakeholders in Belize City to learn from one another, explore financing models, innovate new approaches, and discuss how network members could continue to replicate successes. The framework of the 50in10 Theory of Change—a collective impact approach in which community empowerment, policy reform, credible science, and market demand work together—as well as collaborative learning guided the convening. Participants prioritized sustainable financing, community engagement, scientific data, and enforcement and compliance as key areas in which innovation is needed to overcome obstacles to reform, and developed ideas for how to address these challenges.

The Mariscos Strategy : An Investment Blueprint for Small-Scale Fisheries in Chile

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 fishing improvements in a portfolio of small-scale, multispecies fisheries in Chile. The Mariscos Strategy is a hypothetical $7.0 million impact investment to protect seven small-scale fisheries along the Chilean coastline. The $7.0 million would fund the implementation of fisheries management improvements across the fisheries, and be used to expand an existing consumer packaged goods company producing gourmet "heat-and-eat" meals for Latin American consumers. The Mariscos Strategy is focused on generating an 11.1% base case equity return, while simultaneously protecting the multispecies stock biomass from current and future overfishing, enhancing almost 550 fisher livelihoods across seven fishing communities, and safeguarding the supply of over 5 million meals-to-market annually.

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.

The Isda Strategy : An Investment Blueprint for Small-Scale Fisheries in the Philippines

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 fishing practices in a portfolio of small-scale fisheries in the Philippines. The Isda Strategy1 is a hypothetical $11.7 million impact investment to protect and restore small-scale fisheries spanning 80 communities across the Philippine archipelago and at least 20 species. The $11.7 million would fund the implementation of fisheries management improvements across both pelagic and nearshore fisheries, and be used to expand a seafood processing and distribution company producing premium seafood products, sourced from small-scale fishers, for both domestic and export markets. The Isda Strategy has the potential to generate a 20.7% base case equity return, while simultaneously protecting the multispecies stock biomass from current and future overfishing, enhancing the livelihoods of up to 19,000 fishers across 80 fishing communities, and safeguarding the supply of 6.7 million meals-to-market annually.

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.

Catch Shares in Action: Alaska Halibut and Sablefish Fixed Gear Individual Fishing Quota Program

January 1, 2013

The Alaska Halibut and Sablefish Fixed Gear Individual Fishing Quota Program (IFQ Program) was one of the first to include a variety of design elements to meet key social goals while also contributing to decreasing overcapitalization and increasing the value of the fishery. Some of the key design elements include low concentration limits, restrictions on trading, strict shareholder eligibility requirements and more. The program also allocates a percentage of the shares to the Community Development Quota (CDQ) program, which includes 65 eligible communities organized into six groups and was designed to ensure fishing access, support economic development, alleviate poverty, and provide economic and social benefits to residents of western Alaska communities (North Pacific Fishery Management Council, n.d, A).

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: Argentine Individual Transferable Quota Program

January 1, 2013

The Argentine Individual Transferable Quota Program manages four of the country's most commercially important species by allocating quota to individual vessels under a single catch share program. Program goals focus on long-term stock conservation, the maximization of domestic employment and the promotion of social stability. As distinct fleets target each species, managers have incorporated special design features within the program to meet each fishery's needs. Quota set-asides give managers the flexibility to address fishery-specific social and biological goals, while the multi-criteria allocation process incentivizes investment in the domestic economy and compliance with fishing regulations.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: British Columbia Integrated Groundfish Program

January 1, 2013

The British Columbia Integrated Groundfish Program (Integrated Program) is one of the most comprehensive catch share programs in the world. The multi-species program includes over 70 species, 30 of which are managed via quota, and includes all commercial fishermen targeting groundfish, regardless of gear type. The program includes a number of innovative design features such as quota set-asides, which are meant to encourage community development and incentivize positive treatment of crew. Additionally, the program requires 100% individual accountability of all catch and uses an innovative monitoring and catch accounting system to support accountability.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: Chilean National Benthic Resources Territorial Use Rights for Fishing Program

January 1, 2013

Among the largest area-based catch share programs in the world, the Chilean National Benthic Resources Territorial Use Rights for Fishing Program (TURF Program) includes over 17,000 artisanal fishermen comanaging over 550 distinct areas along the coast. The voluntary system primarily manages loco, Chile's most valuable mollusc, and provides secure access to benthic resources to groups of artisanal fishermen. Management is built on science performed by universities and consultants, resulting in co-management by the government, industry and the private sector.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: Danish Pelagic and Demersal Individual Transferable Quota Programs

January 1, 2013

The Danish Pelagic and Demersal Individual Transferable Quota Programs (ITQ Programs) include a number of thoughtful design decisions in order to meet the programs' goals, including promoting economic growth in the fisheries sector by balancing the capacity of the fishing fleet with the available resource, and addressing social concerns. Important features of the catch share program include quota set-asides for small vessels and new entrants; Fishpools, which promote cooperation and coordination among participants; and programs to reduce discards. Denmark's catch share programs demonstrate how innovative design features can be used to promote social goals within a system introduced for economic and biological reasons.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: Japanese Common Fishing Rights System

January 1, 2013

The Japanese Common Fishing Rights System is a comprehensive catch share program that manages the nearshore fisheries along Japan's vast coastline by allocating secure areas, or Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURFs), to harvesting Cooperatives. The system has evolved over time and is a model for managing mobile nearshore species through a network of scaled Cooperatives. The program depends upon a coordinated system of co-management, including nested layers of governance from the federal level down to the regional level. The program design has promoted innovative approaches -- especially by fishermen -- including coordination within and across TURFs (and Cooperatives), and pooling of harvesting arrangements to improve economic efficiency and resource sustainability.

Rights and Legal Frameworks

Catch Shares in Action: Mexican Baja California FEDECOOP Benthic Species Territorial Use Rights for Fishing System

January 1, 2013

The Baja California Regional Federation of Fishing Cooperative Societies (FEDECOOP) is a groupallocated, area-based catch share, or Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURF), program. FEDECOOP consists of 13 fishing Cooperatives that collectively manage 10 TURFs to promote sustainable harvests, increase market access and power and provide stability to fishermen and fishing communities. The catch share program is a model for coordination across multiple Cooperatives and TURFs to achieve fishery goals. Key design features include voluntary no-take reserves to increase productivity and protect vulnerable fish species and the evolution of FEDECOOP to coordinate activities and provide services to multiple Cooperatives and TURFs.

Rights and Legal Frameworks