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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Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: The Reality of Success in Fisheries Management

April 1, 2004

The findings of the case-studies (shown in the list of references below) which were undertaken as part of the World Bank funded project 'Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries' are presented in a series of Policy Briefs. In Policy Brief 2, the comparison and synthesis of the findings from across the world highlight seven important issues or factors which can help us to understand the reality of success in fisheries management. It is clear that successful fisheries management is rarely due to one factor, but to a complex combination of numerous elements. Furthermore, some of the factors are beyond the control of fisheries managers (environmental factors being an obvious example) and others which are local and not replicable in other circumstances (the role of key people being an obvious example).

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: Institutional Capacity-building for Success in Fisheries Management

April 1, 2004

The purpose of this series of Policy Briefs is to ensure effective dissemination of information collected and generated as a result of the World Bank-funded Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries, the ACP Fish II Feasibility Study (EC), and a Workshop on Fiscal Reform in Fisheries (DFID and GTZ). In Policy Brief 3, institutions matter for fisheries management. Working towards success in fisheries management requires consideration of many factors, but the underpinning role of appropriate institutions is fundamental to the process. Without strong, capable institutions fisheries management cannot hope to work towards success. While institutional capacity-building is relevant to all fisheries, there appears to be greatest need in developing countries where institutions are often new and untried, or weak and in need of further assistance.

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: Building Institutional Capacity, the Case of Mauritania (Draft)

April 1, 2004

The purpose of this series of Policy Briefs is to ensure effective dissemination of information collected and generated as a result of the World Bank-funded Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries, the ACP Fish II Feasibility Study (EC), and a Workshop on Fiscal Reform in Fisheries (DFID and GTZ). This Policy Brief #5 addresses building institutional capacity. Appropriate institutional capacity to implement management is critical to success. In addition to the institutions themselves, such capacity encompasses a wide range of elements: staff skill, budget levels, range of experience, vision, fiscal instruments and so on(1). The development of a fishery management approach and the institutions involved can be a long process. Generally developing countries are not very far into this process and need to develop appropriate institutional arrangements and support (e.g. research) so that fishery management units can be identified and plans developed. Alongside institutions we need to also consider an appropriate information system to guide managers and to enable the assessment of management performance.

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: Cooperation in Fisheries Management, the Case of Senegal (Draft)

April 1, 2004

The purpose of this series of Policy Briefs is to ensure effective dissemination of information collected and generated as a result of the World Bank-funded Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries, the ACP Fish II Feasibility Study (EC), and a Workshop on Fiscal Reform in Fisheries (DFID and GTZ). In Policy Brief 8, cooperation between stakeholders is a key to success: this cooperation may be horizontal with local fishers joining together to push for change or may be vertical with local groups working together with industry and government to develop and implement fisheries management plans. Co-management – one form of cooperative behaviour – may help to improve the chances of success in fisheries management. The cornerstone of cooperation is, of course, the sense of 'ownership' of the process of management which can often encourage greater compliance with new fishery regulations.

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: Resource Rent as a Central Concept in Fisheries Management, the Case of Namibia

April 1, 2004

The purpose of these Policy Briefs is to ensure effective dissemination of information collected and generated as a result of the World Bank-funded Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries, the ACP Fish II Feasibility Study (EC), and a Workshop on Fiscal Reform in Fisheries (DFID and GTZ). This Policy Brief 9, discusses resource rent which is a key concept in the management of fisheries as it refers to a source of considerable wealth, potentially or actually available to society. Resource rent generated in fisheries can be a critical contributor to sustaining effective fisheries management, and can contribute to government revenue and to the wealth and wellbeing of society. If its potential is not well understood and there are no limits on fishing effort, this wealth will not be realised. Potential resource rents of great value can easily be squandered on excess capacity, leading to depletion of fisheries resources. Namibia, which became independent in 1990, is a good example of successful fisheries management leading to the generation and capturing of resource rent of significant value.

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: An Approach to Assessing Fisheries Management Performance

April 1, 2004

The purpose of these series of Policy Briefs is to ensure effective dissemination of information collected and generated as a result of the World Bank-funded Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries, the ACP Fish II Feasibility Study (EC), and a Workshop on Fiscal Reform in Fisheries (DFID and GTZ). The primary objective of assessing fisheries management performance is the identification of opportunities for improving the effectiveness of fisheries management. Little exists in the literature specifically on how to go about such an exercise. This is partly explained by the need to tailor each exercise to fit the particular circumstances of the fisherY and its management system. There exists, however, a useful literature covering aspects of the fisheries management function, a sample of which is provided in the box below. Assessing fisheries management performance is essentially assessing the success, or otherwise, of fisheries management. The first Policy Brief in this series had discussed what constitutes 'success' and some of the difficulties in arriving at conclusions as to how successful fisheries management has been. This Policy Brief 11 tentatively suggests an approach to undertaking an assessment of fisheries management performance. It is intended that it be used with discretion and imagination. Those undertaking an assessment exercise should tailor the exercise to the particular circumstances of the fishery.

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: Fisheries Management Systems and Governance

April 1, 2004

The purpose of these series of Policy Briefs is to ensure effective dissemination of information collected and generated as a result of the World Bank-funded Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries, the ACP Fish II Feasibility Study (EC), and a Workshop on Fiscal Reform in Fisheries (DFID and GTZ). Policy Brief 12, addresses the debate regarding fisheries governance and its relationship to fisheries management systems which centres on an understanding of these two key concepts. They are widely used terms but are not easy to properly define and to quantify. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, indicative of this lack of definition.

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: Key Concepts II, Fisheries Policy, the Policy Process and Policy Analysis

April 1, 2004

The purpose of this series of Policy Briefs is to ensure effective dissemination of information collected and generated as a result of the World Bank-funded Study of Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries, the ACP Fish II Feasibility Study (EC), and a Workshop on Fiscal Reform in Fisheries (DFID and GTZ). Policy Brief 13 addresses the key concepts of fisheries policy, the policy process and policy analysis. Emphasis has been given to the centrality of public policy in achieving the type of proactive approach to fisheries management needed in order for it to be effective. In this context we are referring essentially to public policy. However, questions, sometimes unspoken, often arise as to: What is really meant by policy and why are policies important? What is a policy process? Is there a specific process that should be followed? What is involved in policy analysis?

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: Key Policy Issues in FIsheries Management Performance

April 1, 2004

For much of the last half century fisheries managers have grappled with what is needed to achieve effective fisheries governance. It is argued that the factors that determine the success or otherwise of fisheries management tend to be so location-specific that it is not possible to offer a general prescription for improving fisheries management. While this is true, it is possible to identify certain issues that generally appear to have a determining impact on the success or otherwise of fisheries management. In a study commissioned for the ACP Fish II Feasibility Study Report (2003), 50 case-studies were analysed and issues were identified as having an impact on fisheries management performance. The issues that emerged from the study can be divided into policy and governance issues. The first set are identified as policy issues. They are those that provide the framework or process underpinning governance or, put differently, the context of fisheries management. The second set of issues is labelled governance issues because they include the fisheries management system per seand have an impact on the fisheries management mechanism.

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: Some Key Considerations for Improving Fisheries Management Performance

April 1, 2004

Policy Brief 15 provides some key considerations for improving fisheries management performance. As a generalisation, over the last half century the focus of fisheries management has been on the biological state of fishery resources. In theory it is now widely accepted that fisheries management needs to give attention to a far wider range of issues that have a profound impact on fishery management performance, without abandoning the natural sciences. These focus on how best to organise the management of people in relation to fisheries resources. The inertia of institutional change means that many fisheries management authorities are still structured in a way consistent with the old management paradigm. Management authorities need to be proactive in pursuing certain critical issues that, if tackled, can enhance fisheries management performance.

Good Management Practice in Sustainable Fisheries: The Nature of Success in Fisheries Management

April 1, 2004

The fisheries and aquaculture sector is of fundamental importance to the Asia-Pacific region providing opportunities for revenue generation and employment, and contributing to food security. This document reviews the current status of inland and marine fisheries resources and their contribution to national economies and food security. Regional fishery data and information stored in FAO databases are analysed to provide a comprehensive picture of production trends of fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region, which is further illustrated by a detailed view of sub-regions and aquaculture production by species groups. It also touches upon issues that require closer attention in order for the fisheries resources to be managed in a responsive and sustainable manner.