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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Monies for Marine Conservation: A White Paper Examining New Funding Sources for Oceans and Coasts

April 27, 2012

Orissa is one of DFID India's partner states, in which DFID is committed to working with government and civil society towards poverty elimination. In October 1999 a super cyclone hit the Orissa coast causing extensive loss of life and severe damage to the natural and physical environment and to the livelihoods of many thousands of people. DFID's initial response was to give immediate relief support through its Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department in London. Given DFID India's partnership with the state it was decided that DFID India should follow up with rehabilitation support, through government and non-government agencies. Following 2 years of recovery and regeneration efforts, in 2001 IMM lead a team to undertake a study which aimed to draw out the practical lessons for DFID from the events of and after the 1999 Orissa cyclone, in particular DFID's response, using the livelihoods framework as an analytical tool and contributing to its development as an approach. The study was implemented in two phases using a process approach. The first phase of the study was a scoping study: To understand the potential extent of the study; To develop a methodology for phase 2; To begin to develop a framework for cyclone analysis which would guide the main section of the study, and to discuss the phase 1 findings with DFI.

Coming Together: Sharing Lessons from the 2008 LMMA Network-wide Meeting Community Exchange 5-7 November 2008, Fiji

February 4, 2011

The Community Storybook is a collection of lessons, tips and experiences shared during the Community Exchange session at the 2008 LMMA Network-wide Meeting in Fiji. It is not intended as a comprehensive guide for community-based adaptive management (CBAM), but rather as a record capturing the key points from conversations shared by participants. It is intenteded to be strateigically introduced to communities -- that is, as part of a workshop or community awareness event, rather then simply handed out indiscriminately. We recommend to the folks on the ground who are introducing it (partners, country coordinators, etc.) to leave ample time for elaboration and discussion of the tips provided in the storybook, particularly the more sensitive or debatable ones.

Reefs at Risk Revisited

February 1, 2011

Updates estimated threats to coral reefs from human activities, such as overfishing and coastal development, as well as global climate change by type of threat and region. Outlines social and economic implications and approaches to sustainable management.

Financing Fisheries Change: Learning from Case Studies

January 1, 2011

The fields of fisheries sustainability and conservation have evolved and grown considerably over the past decade. This evolution, its broad scope and the scale of capital needed for support will require project developers to seek the support and guidance of an array of investors, both in the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Non-profits, social change leaders and business entrepreneurs will need to work together to create innovatively structured projects that can both build value for private investors and improve the speed and scale of fisheries conservation impacts. This report presents case studies of groups who have incorporated innovative financing structures and partnerships into their strategies, and analyzes the lessons learned to offer investors and NGOs guidance for future projects. The 11 cases presented are divided into three groups depending on how conservation and financing strategies are tied together. The groups are:Assuring conservation through ownership: Using equity for asset purchase with an exit strategy.Promoting conservation through targeted lending: Filling credit gaps with debt instruments.Enabling conservation by combining services and capital: Incubating and providing information, connections and financing to promote business development

Reefs at Risk: A Map-Based Indicator of Threats to the Worlds Coral Reefs

January 1, 1998

This report presents the first-ever detailed, map-based assessment of potential threats to coral reef ecosystems around the world. "Reefs at Risk" draws on 14 data sets (including maps of land cover, ports, settle-ments, and shipping lanes), information on 800 sites known to be degraded by people, and scientific expertise to model areas where reef degradation is predicted to occur, given existing human pressures on these areas. Results are an indicator of potential threat (risk), not a measure of actual condition. In some places, particularly where good management is practiced, reefs may be at risk but remain relatively healthy. In others, this indicator underestimates the degree to which reefs are threatened and degraded.Our results indicate that:Fifty-eight percent of the world's reefs are poten-tially threatened by human activity -- ranging from coastal development and destructive fishing practices to overexploitation of resources, marine pollution, and runoff from inland deforestation and farming.Coral reefs of Asia (Southeastern); the most species-rich on earth, are the most threatened of any region. More than 80 percent are at risk (undermedium and high potential threat), and over half are at high risk, primarily from coastal development and fishing-related pressures.Overexploitation and coastal development pose the greatest potential threat of the four risk categories considered in this study. Each, individually, affects a third of all reefs.The Pacific, which houses more reef area than any other region, is also the least threatened. About 60 percent of reefs here are at low risk.Outside of the Pacific, 70 percent of all reefs are at risk.At least 11 percent of the world's coral reefs contain high levels of reef fish biodiversity and are under high threat from human activities. These "hot spot" areas include almost all Philippine reefs, and coral communities off the coasts of Asia, the Comoros, and the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean.Almost half a billion people -- 8 percent of the total global population -- live within 100 kilometers of a coral reef.Globally, more than 400 marine parks, sanctuaries, and reserves (marine protected areas) contain coral reefs. Most of these sites are very small -- more than 150 are under one square kilometer in size. At least 40 countries lack any marine protected areas for conserving their coral reef systems.