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 Management of Natural Resources in Africa: Impacts, Experiences and Future Directions

January 1, 2009

More than twenty years have passed since community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) rose to prominence in different parts of Africa as a strategy for rural development, local empowerment, and conservation. Led by new ideas about the merits of decentralized, collective resource governance regimes, and creative field experiments such as Zimbabwe's CAMPFIRE, these community-based approaches evolved in a wide range of ecological, political, and social contexts across Africa. This review provides an unprecedented pan-African synthesis of CBNRM, drawing on multiple authors and a wide range of documented experiences from Southern, Eastern, Western and Central Africa. The review discusses the degree to which CBNRM has met poverty alleviation, economic development and nature conservation objectives. In its concluding chapter, the report suggests a way forward for strengthening CBNRM and addressing key challenges in the years ahead.

Towards Sustainable Co-Management of Mekong River Inland Aquatic Resources, Including Fisheries, in Southern Lao PDR

April 1, 2000

This paper presents historical information regarding the development of the aquatic resource co-management system in Khong District, Champasak Province, Southern Lao PDF. Between 1993 and 1998, 63 villages in Khong District established co-management regulations to sustainably manage and conserve inland aquatic resources, including fisheries, in the Mekong River, streams, backwater wetlands, and rice paddy fields. Local government has endorsed these regulations, but villages have been given the mandate to choose what regulations to adopt based on local conditions and community consensus. Communities are also empowered to alter regulations in response to changing circumstances. Villagers have widely reported increased fish catches since the adoption of aquatic resource co-management regulations. Improved solidarity and coordination within and between rural fishing and farming villages has also been observed. While many of the lessons learned from the co-management experience in Khong are applicable to other parts of Laos and the region, unique conditions in different areas will require inventive approaches to meet local needs. Common property regimes can break down in crisis, but experience in Khong indicates that they can also be strengthened in response to resource management crisis.