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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Community Fisheries Management Handbook

January 1, 2006

This handbook is a unique product. It is the first "field guide" to community-based fisheries management focused specifically on fisheries, such as those of the Northwest Atlantic, that are already highly regulated by governmental authorities, with licensing and other requirements that limit access and effort. While a variety of resource materials are available on community-based natural resource management, almost all of these are written by practitioners working in the South (developing countries) and rely on case studies and techniques that have been tested in less industrialized tropical fisheries. Therefore, this handbook is one of the few publications about community-based management in 'Northern' fisheries.The need for this handbook was identified by participants working on an initiative on the Atlantic coast of Canada, "Turning the Tide: Communities Managing Fisheries Together" ( Turning the Tide works for improved fisheries management through community-based approaches, and through cooperative efforts among aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities. To that end, it has brought together fishermen and their communities to share information and ideas on community-based management, through events such as community forums and study tours. Participants recognized the need for a handbook on community-based fisheries management that is relevant to their own fisheries and that can be used as a tool to provide information and support for practitioners, as well as to document current practices and insights obtained, and to promote and raise public awareness about community-based fisheries management. The stories and insights in the handbook are those of Turning the Tide participants and their allies from around the Atlantic Region – the Atlantic coast of Canada and the north-eastern North America-United States – who shared this information during Turning the Tide activities, and in individual and group interviews, and who reviewed the materials used in producing this handbook. The various tools and ideas explored here are currently being applied in the region, and so the handbook demonstrates how community-based approaches to fisheries management are working today.