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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Economic Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Selected Coastal Areas in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam

January 1, 2013

This report is an account of a cross-country study that covered Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Covering four sites (one each in Indonesia and Vietnam) and two sites in the Philippines, the study documented the impacts of three climate hazards affecting coastal communities, namely typhoon/flooding, coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion. It also analyzed planned adaptation options, which communities and local governments can implement, as well as autonomous responses of households to protect and insure themselves from these hazards. It employed a variety of techniques, ranging from participatory based approaches such as community hazard mapping and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to regression techniques, to analyze the impact of climate change and the behavior of affected communities and households.

Fishery Co-management: A Practical Handbook

January 1, 2006

For many years, Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has maintained an active portfolio of projects examining co-management and community-based management in fisheries and other resource systems. Since the publication of Managing Small-scale Fisheries (Berkes et al., 2001), there has been an increasing demand for guidance on what IDRC has learned about co-management, particularly across different geographical settings, socio-economic conditions, and histories of operation; and how it could apply to other types of fishing, link to other livelihoods, relate to other dynamic processes (such as the migration of fishermen), and respond to the seasonal nature of fish resources. This book attempts to respond to this demand by compiling recent experience from as wide a cross section of research as possible. During the development of this book, both IDRC and the authors wrestled with the concept of co-management. Given the evolving nature of this science, for example, what does co-management cover and how widely is the concept accepted? Importantly, there has been increasing acceptance of the idea that co-management is not an end point but rather a process -- a process of adaptive learning. Recognizing the diversity of both local contexts (ecological and social) and factors depleting the fishery (such as overfishing and habitat destruction), however, would it even be possible to put together a book of lessons learned? As you will soon discover, IDRC and the authors felt that it was neither possible nor desirable to produce a blueprint for fishery co-management. Rather, we agreed that it would be more useful to document the co-management process, as undertaken by both IDRC partners and others, and to put this experience into a form that could be shared with anyone interested in learning more about co-management and what others have learned. This shared and adaptive approach to learning is what this book is all about. In the pages that follow, you will find a complete picture of the co-management process: strengths, weaknesses, methods, activities, checklists and so on.

Coastal Resource Management in the Wider Caribbean: Resilience, Adaptation, and Community Diversity

January 1, 2006

The Caribbean Sea is the second largest sea in the world, including more than 30 insular and continental countries with an approximate population of 35 million. In addition to its highly fractionalized territory, it is characterized by a great linguistic and cultural diversity, a phenomenon enhanced by increasing internal migrations and the expansion of tourism. The implementation of coastal management programs, often embedded in top-down approaches, is therefore faced with a series of ecological and social constraints, explaining why they have had only limited success. This book presents an alternative look at existing coastal management initiatives in the North America (Caribbean); focusing on the need to pay more attention to the local community. Emphasizing the great heterogeneity of Caribbean communities, the book shows how the diversity of ecosystems and cultures has generated a significant resilience and capacity to adapt, in which the notion of community itself has to be re-examined. The concluding chapter presents lessons learned and a series of practical recommendations for decision-makers.

Managing Small-scale Fisheries: Alternative Directions and Methods

January 1, 2001

Human dependence on marine and coastal resources is increasing. Today, small-scale fisheries employ 50 of the world's 51 million fishers, practically all of whom are from developing countries. And together, they produce more than half of the world's annual marine fish catch of 98 million tonnes, supplying most of the fish consumed in the developing world. At the same time, increased fishery overexploitation and habitat degradation are threatening the Earth's coastal and marine resources. Most small-scale fisheries have not been well managed, if they have been managed at all. Existing approaches have failed to constrain fishing capacity or to manage conflict. They have not kept pace with technology or with the driving forces of economics, population growth, demand for food, and poverty. Worldwide, the management and governance of small-scale fisheries is in urgent need of reform. This publication looks beyond the scope of conventional fishery management to alternative concepts, tools, methods, and conservation strategies. There is, for example, broader emphasis on ecosystem management and participatory decision-making. Interested readers will include fishery managers, both governmental and nongovernmental; instructors and students in fishery management; development organizations and practitioners working on small-scale fisheries; and fishers and fishing communities that wish to take responsibility for managing their own resources.