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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The Big Picture: A Fishery System Approach Links Fishery Management and Biodiversity

January 1, 2005

This article was published in the Proceedings of the sixth conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade. Successful fishery development can be defined as the simultaneous achievement of ecological, socioeconomic, community and institutional sustainability. This paper incorporates these sustainability elements within an integrated framework, which is applied in a case of Puerto Thiel, a fishing community in the Gulf of Nicoya on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. The economic performance of the local fishing cooperative is analysed, and experiences with economic diversification are reviewed. We highlight the importance, especially in heavily exploited fisheries, of policies that simultaneously pursue development (to increase local socioeconomic and community fishery benefits within resource limitations) and economic diversification (to lessen the impact of fishery management restrictions by creating non-fishery employment alternatives).