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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Impact Evaluation of GEF/UNDP Support to Protected Areas and Protected Area Systems

June 27, 2013

This evaluation will assess the impact of GEF/UNDP investments in terrestrial protected areas and protected area systems, especially seeking evidence from countries or landscapes where the supported areas can be compared with those lacking such support, or receiving other types of intervention. This evaluation will understand by impact as the positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. The evaluation will analyse how different management and governance approaches, in particular the extent of community engagement, impact on the achievement of GEF objectives in protected areas. The evaluation seeks to provide insights into how future interventions and support can best contribute to the sustainable management of protected areas as a contribution to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. It will also assess the extent to which support has promoted human well-being as a necessary condition for the effective management of protected areas and immediately adjacent landscapes, and the factors and conditions affecting the interaction between human livelihood objectives and biodiversity objectives.

The Economic Value of Rebuilding Fisheries

April 16, 2012

The global demand for protein from seafood –- whether wild, caught or cultured, whether for direct consumption or as feed for livestock –- is high and projected to continue growing. However, the ocean's ability to meet this demand is uncertain due to either mismanagement or, in some cases, lack of management of marine fish stocks. Efforts to rebuild and recover the world's fisheries will benefit from an improved understanding of the long-term economic benefits of recovering collapsed stocks, the trajectory and duration of different rebuilding approaches, variation in the value and timing of recovery for fisheries with different economic, biological, and regulatory characteristics, including identifying which fisheries are likely to benefit most from recovery, and the benefits of avoiding collapse in the first place. These questions are addressed in this paper using a dynamic bioeconomic optimisation model that explicitly accounts for economics, management, and ecology of size-structured exploited fish populations. Within this model framework, different management options (effort controls on small-, medium-, and large-sized fish) including management that optimises economic returns over a specified planning horizon are simulated and the consequences compared. The results show considerable economic gains from rebuilding fisheries, with magnitudes varying across fisheries.

Social Capital: Communities Based Fisheries Management

March 25, 2007

Fishers are amongst the poorest people in Bangladesh. Most possess few capital assets, many are landless and have few alternative livelihood options. Their access to lakes, rivers and floodplains is strongly affected by decisions made by the people who control aquatic resources at the local level, particularly the rich and elites. The Community Based Fisheries Management Project is an action research project, which the WorldFish Center has been assisting the Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh to implement over the last ten years. The second phase of the project, CBFM-2, has involved the development and testing of a range of community based and co-management models in 116 water bodies through supporting the development of 130 Community Based Organisations (CBOs) in partnership with 11 NGOs. Social capital is one of the five different types of capital (natural, physical, human, financial and social) that are needed for households to develop sustainable livelihood strategies. It consists of the networks and norms that govern the interactions among individuals, households and communities. Social capital can be categorised into three types: bonding, bridging and linking but the boundaries between these vary across contexts. The aim of the study was to see whether poor fishers involved with the CBFM-2 project have benefited through increasing their social capital.

Understanding the Factors that Support or Inhibit Livelihood Diversification in Coastal Cambodia

September 1, 2005

The DFID funded Aquatic Resource Dependency and Benefit Flows Project (ARDB) was a short research project (from January 2005 until August 2005) implemented by IMM of the UK, the Community Fisheries Development Office (CFDO) of the Department of Fisheries (DoF) and the Community Based Natural Resource Management Learning Institute (CBNRM LI), both based in Cambodia. It had two aims: 1) to build capacity amongst government and NGO staff in understanding the importance of livelihood diversification as a potential tool for natural resource management, and 2) to further our understanding of how factors that support or inhibit rural household diversification may apply in the Cambodian coastal context and beyond. The current report reviews the background to, and the findings of, that research.