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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Fisheries Stakeholders and Their Livelihoods in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

December 1, 2011

Fisheries Management for Sustainable Livelihoods (FIMSUL), is a project implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with the Government of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India under the World Bank Trust Fund. The project aims at establishing frameworks, processes and building capacities of various stakeholders especially the Government, to facilitate the planning, design and implementation of appropriate fisheries development and management policies. The project includes a series of stakeholder consultations and consensus building apart from detailed review and analysis in the areas of stakeholders, livelihoods, policy, legal and institutional frame work and fisheries management. Based on this, the project comes up with various options. Stakeholder and livelihoods analysis is an essential part of the project. Hence, the team developed a detailed methodology for stakeholder consultations which includes district level stake holder consultation, focus group discussions, household interviews and validation meetings. The stakeholder and livelihoods analysis following the above steps were done through six NGO partners working along the coast of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry who were initially trained on the methodology. The NGO partners : PLANT, GUIDE, FERAL, SIFFS, DHAN Foundation and TMSSS, especially a team of dedicated staff engaged by them had done an excellent work in completing comprehensive field exercises and bringing out 12 district/regional reports. These are published separately. This report is a compilation, and complete analysis of the stakeholders and livelihoods based on all the field level consultations.This report is expected to be an important reference to primary stakeholders' perspective of the important stakeholders in the sector, the livelihoods and livelihoods changes, the adaptive and coping mechanism, the relationships between the stakeholders and their hopes and aspirations. For any development intervention for any sector or stakeholder group, region-wise in marine fisheries in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the information from this report could be an important starting point.

Assessing Opportunities for Livelihood Enhancement and Diversification in Coastal Fishing Communities of Southern India

January 6, 2008

"The United Nations Team for Tsunami Recovery Support (UNTRS) based in Chennai,India, is facilitating the process of tsunami recovery in the region through specific interventions in strategic areas. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations (FAO) as a part of the UNTRS team aims to set clear directions to ensure sustainable livelihoods for fishers. It has a pro-poor focus. With the fisheries sector suffering from both over-capitalization and resource depletion, the livelihoods of poor fishers and fisherfolk communities have been badly hit, and the tsunami has aggravated their misery. While relief measures have helped, what's essential for the long term is to improve livelihood opportunities. They need to be enhanced and diversified. Many development interventions have been attempted. But what's needed is a viable people-centric approach that taps the strengths of coastal fisheries and draws on them. Hence this study on ""Assessing opportunities for livelihood enhancement and diversification in coastal fishing communities of southern India."" carried out by Integrated Coastal Management, Kakinada. The study covers tsunami-affected areas in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The study has analysed a number of inherent strategies of the fishers to enhance and diversify livelihoods, both past and present. It has come out with a planning framework for livelihoods enhancement and diversification. Stakeholders in fisheries can make use of the framework, validate its usefulness, and decide and further develop appropriate tool box. They may then spell out the support and co-operation necessary from other stakeholders."

Management of the Loco (Concholepas concholepas) as a Driver for Self-governance of Small-scale Benthic Fisheries in Chile

January 1, 2008

WRI led the "Reefs at Risk Revisited" analysis in collaboration with a broad partnership of more than 25 research, conservation, and educational organizations. Partners have provided data, offered guidance on the analytical approach, contributed to the report, and served as critical reviewers of the maps and findings."

Models for an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries

January 1, 2007

This document is one outcome from a workshop held in Gizo in October 2010 attended by 82 representatives from government, NGO's private sector, and communities. The target audience for the document is primarily organizations planning to work with coastal communities of Solomon Islands to implement Community-Based Resource Management (CBRM). It is however also envisaged that the document will serve as a reference for communities to better understand what to expect from their partners and also for donors, to be informed about agreed approaches amongst Solomon Islands stakeholders. This document does not attempt to summarize all the outcomes of the workshop; rather it focuses on the Solomon Islands Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) National Plan of Action (NPoA): Theme 1: Support and implementation of CBRM and specifically, the scaling up of CBRM in Solomon Islands. Most of the principles given in this document are derived from experiences in coastal communities and ecosystems as, until relatively recently, these have received most attention in Solomon Islands resource management. It is recognized however that the majority of these principles will be applicable to both coastal and terrestrial initiatives. This document synthesizes information provided by stakeholders at the October 2010 workshop and covers some basic principles of engagement and implementation that have been learned over more than twenty years of activities by the stakeholder partners in Solomon Islands. The document updates and expands on a summary of guiding principles for CBRM which was originally prepared by the Solomon Islands Locally Managed Marine Area Network (SILMMA) in 2007.

Policy and Legislative Frameworks for Co-management

January 1, 2005

This paper was prepared by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd and the FAO Development Law Service (LEGN) for the Asia-Pacific Fisheries Commission workshop on Mainstreaming Fisheries Co-management in Asia-Pacific, which was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 9 to 12 August 2005. The paper examines the policy and legislative frameworks for co-management in thirteen countries in Asia and the Pacific, and the extent to which these frameworks hinder or support co-management practices. Through an analysis of the different case studies, 'lessons learned' are presented and a number of conclusions are drawn about the key characteristics of a supportive policy and legislative framework based on some ideas about 'best practice'. The adoption of these characteristics by governments would demonstrate their commitment to co-management and increase the likelihood of co-management success.

Creating Legal Space for Community-based Fisheries and Customary Marine Tenure in the Pacific: Issues and Opportunities

January 1, 2004

The legal environment within which community-based fisheries management (CBFM) will function should be examined to determine whether it supports or will need necessary enhancement to support the implementation of CBFM. The question as to whether CBFM is legally sustainable must be asked with regard to the whole legal framework of the State – from fundamental laws, such as the constitution, to subsidiary legislation. Amendments to existing legislation or new legislation may be necessary to implement CBFM. There is no blueprint for a CBFM legal framework what number of rights with respect to fish resources should be accorded and what should be the level of participation by the local community. It is important, however, to ensure that the constitutionality of all these aspects is ascertained, and to ensure that enabling legislation for CBFM consider the following issues: security, exclusivity and permanence of rights vested; flexibility of its provisions so as to allow states to exercise choices that reflect their unique needs, conditions and aspirations for CBFM; and the way CBFM harmonizes with the overall fisheries management legal framework. Attaining the right balance in the CBFM legal framework, however, is difficult and depends largely on local circumstances. There is much interest in using customary marine tenure (CMT) as a basis for CBFM in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs). The laws of PICs lend general support to the use of CMT or tradition in fisheries management. Still, only modest efforts in the use of CMT-based community fisheries management in the PICs are observed. Further legislative action can enhance CMT use in community fisheries management. Broad lessons can be drawn from the experiences of some PICs in legislating on CMT or certain of its aspects to enhance CMT use. Government commitment to CBFM generally, and for the role of CMT in the CBFM context with support from interested entities and stakeholders including communities, will complement efforts for promoting sustainable utilization of fisheries resources and improved livelihoods in the PICs. Keywords: community-based fisheries management, customary marine tenure, fisheries legislation, legal frameworks, Pacific Island Countries.