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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Mainstreaming Gender Into Project Cycle Management in the Fisheries Sector

January 1, 2011

This manual has been prepared to facilitate gender analysis and project planning in fisheries development projects. It is intended to be a toolkit to help project managers and implementing counterparts (such as extensionists, government and non-government field workers, and private- and public-sector development consultants, community organizers and leaders of local groups), to facilitate the integration of gender issues into the project cycle.

A Decision-Maker's Guide To Using Science

January 1, 2011

"Marine Managed Areas: What, Why, and Where" is a reader-friendly, richly illustrated 16-page booklet that defines MMAs and discusses the challenges of implementation. Based on 5 years of natural and social science research in 23 countries, it is intended to advance discussions among government agencies, non-government organizations, user groups, and other stakeholders about how and why to implement integrated management for the ocean. Marine Managed Areas: What, Why, and Where is a publication of the Science-to-Action partnership, which includes more than 75 organizations led by Conservation International's Marine Management Area Science Program. One approach to the development of better coastal and marine policy and management is the concept of marine managed areas (MMAs). A MMA is an area of ocean, or a combination of land and ocean, where all human activities are managed toward common goals. MMAs are a form of ecosystem-based management, where all elements -- biophysical, human, and institutional -- of a particular system are considered together. There are several overarching principles under which MMAs should be developed: All human uses and their subsequent impacts on the defined area should be considered and their management integrated.Policy and management should be based on the best natural and social science available.All stakeholders in the defined area should be consulted and fully involved in the policy and management development and implementation processes concerning the MMA's conditions and uses. When such principles are fully implemented, the uses of the resources and habitats and the resulting benefits both to the environment and to humans can be optimized.

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.

Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries and Aquaculture: Implementing the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

January 1, 2009

This publication provides guidance on how to implement the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) using an ecosystem approach to fisheries and aquaculture. The CCRF is a voluntary code covering all aspects of the management and development of fisheries and is designed to ensure sustainable development without adversely affecting the livelihoods of local communities that share the same resources as the fisheries. The authors outline the basic principles of the CCRF, describe concrete steps to be taken to use the ecosystem approach effectively, and recommend certain institutional changes and reforms that will be necessary if the potential of the ecosystem approach is to be realized in the Asia-Pacific region. The most significant reform needed is a paradigm shift in policy from one that is production oriented to one that is benefits oriented (social and economic). There is evidence that this is already being undertaken in the region with efforts being made to limit access, reduce the number of fishing vessels and introduce community-based rights systems. Stakeholder participation is essential and existing legal instruments and practices that interact with or impact fisheries may also need to be reconsidered, and adjustments made where necessary. In the future, it may even be necessary to regulate the inter-sectoral interactions and impacts through primary legislation. To promote broader adoption and implementation of the ecosystem approach by member countries, a wide range of regional activities is suggested by the authors including a media campaign, the building of fishery alliances among countries and capacity building in fishery agencies.

Payments for Ecosystem Services Getting Started, A Primer

May 1, 2008

This primer is designed to provide you with a solid understanding of what Payments for Ecosystem Service (PES) are and how PES deals work. It is intended for an audience interested in exploring the potential of PES -- either as prospective PES sellers themselves or as staff of organizations that work directly with communities or landowners who may be interested in PES. The primer should be read before you set out to design a PES deal, as it provides guidance on conditions under which PES is most relevant and likely to succeed. It should also be read sequentially, as concepts defi ned in the early pages are built upon later.

Participatory Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation for Fishing Communities: A Manual

October 19, 2006

While there are many manuals available on participatory rapid appraisal approaches to monitoring and evaluation, there were none easily used by field officers attempting to aid and encourage fishing community level participation in monitoring and evaluating activities of projects and programmes in rural fishing communities.This manual is prepared in cook book fashion with easily followed instructions for 26 participatory monitoring tools to allow use by both local field staff acting as facilitators and directly by community members engaged in the evaluation process.

Community Fisheries Management Handbook

January 1, 2006

This handbook is a unique product. It is the first "field guide" to community-based fisheries management focused specifically on fisheries, such as those of the Northwest Atlantic, that are already highly regulated by governmental authorities, with licensing and other requirements that limit access and effort. While a variety of resource materials are available on community-based natural resource management, almost all of these are written by practitioners working in the South (developing countries) and rely on case studies and techniques that have been tested in less industrialized tropical fisheries. Therefore, this handbook is one of the few publications about community-based management in 'Northern' fisheries.The need for this handbook was identified by participants working on an initiative on the Atlantic coast of Canada, "Turning the Tide: Communities Managing Fisheries Together" (www.turningthetide.ca). Turning the Tide works for improved fisheries management through community-based approaches, and through cooperative efforts among aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities. To that end, it has brought together fishermen and their communities to share information and ideas on community-based management, through events such as community forums and study tours. Participants recognized the need for a handbook on community-based fisheries management that is relevant to their own fisheries and that can be used as a tool to provide information and support for practitioners, as well as to document current practices and insights obtained, and to promote and raise public awareness about community-based fisheries management. The stories and insights in the handbook are those of Turning the Tide participants and their allies from around the Atlantic Region – the Atlantic coast of Canada and the north-eastern North America-United States – who shared this information during Turning the Tide activities, and in individual and group interviews, and who reviewed the materials used in producing this handbook. The various tools and ideas explored here are currently being applied in the region, and so the handbook demonstrates how community-based approaches to fisheries management are working today.

Participatory and Integrated Policy: A Field Guide for Policy Formulation in Small-Scale Fisheries

April 1, 1996

The Participatory and Integrated Policy (PIP) process is a structured approach to research, dialogue, decision-making, institutional reform and development-resource allocation, which promotes greater involvement of all stakeholders in the policy process and harmonises their conflicting objectives, strategies and capacities. This field guide is designed to provide some structure to researching the policy formulation process. It aims to complement, and forms a bridge between, the specific social, economic, environmental and technical fisheries skills of researchers in the area of small -scale fisheries policy.

A Handbook of Rapid Appraisal of Fisheries Management Systems (Version 1)

January 1, 1996

It is widely acknowledged that fisheries management has been characterised more by its failures than its successes. Reviews usually attempt to identify what is 'wrong' with fisheries management and offer suggestions as to how to put it right. However, from an alternative perspective, it is also possible to identify what is 'right' with fisheries management in particular instances and to offer suggestions as to how to build upon such success. A recent World Bank funded project 'Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries' examined the issue of success from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. In this first policy brief, the concept of 'success' is explored as a basis for the presentation of empirical findings based on a series of global case studies.