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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Factors Influencing the Sustainability of Resource Use and Management Within Multiple Use Marine Protected Areas

December 1, 2001

Chapter 6 in the book Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use. Multiple Use Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have emerged as an important mechanism in the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. This study investigates whether there are common factors that enhance or constrain the sustainability of resource use and management within the MPAs. A comparative analysis of resource use patterns and associated socio-economic, socio-political, and institutional factors was carried out in four MPAs: Hikkaduwa Nature Reserve (Sri Lanka), Mafia Island Marine Park (Tanzania), Hon Mun Marine Protected Area (Vietnam), and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Australia). In this investigation a simple analytic framework was used. This was broadly based on a framework developed by the Sustainable Use Specialist Group (SUSG) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (Annex 1), and on a matrix developed by Ticco (1995) to analyse MPAs. The modified framework used provided a means of inter-regional comparison of marine protected areas and the resource use activities taking place within their boundaries.

Conservation of Sulaiman Markhor and Afghan Urial by Local Tribesmen in Torghar, Pakistan

December 1, 2001

Chapter 1 of the book Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use. This chapter describes the events that led to the creation of STEP (Society for Torghar Environmental Protection), its achievements, and outlines its future plans. The paper demonstrates that by involving local communities in conservation projects, both wildlife and communities benefit. Torghar lies in the district of Killa Saifullah within the province of Balochistan, Pakistan. The Pathan tribe, the largest of the Kakar group, have been living in this area for several generations. Several sub-tribes exist for whom hunting is a tradition. Before the Afghanistan War began in 1979, primitive weapons and the scarcity of ammunition limited the number of animals killed. As the pace of the war increased, automatic weapons and ammunition became readily available. Seasonal migrants and local residents began hunting indiscriminately and population numbers of wild animals dwindled rapidly. Populations of Sulaiman Markhor (Capra falconeri jerdoni) and Afghan Urial (Ovis orientalis cycleros) -- keystone species in the area -- became critically low. In 1984, representatives of the North America-United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) arrived in Balochistan to explore opportunities for wildlife conservation. Tribesmen from Torghar expressed an interest in wildlife conservation and a self-supporting conservation programme was established: The Torghar Conservation Programme (TCP), later the Society for Torghar Environmental Protection (STEP), whose design was based on the principles of sustainable use, local tribe involvement, and conservation biology. Today the numbers of Sulaiman Markhor and Afghan Urial have increased significantly. The capacities of local tribes have also increased and the economic and social infrastructure of the area has developed positively.

Conditions for Sustainable Use: The Case of the Chaguar (Bromelia hieronymi) in a Wichí Community from the Argentine Chaco

December 1, 2001

This is Chapter 5 of the larger volume, Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use. The chaguar (Bromelia hieronymi) is a plant traditionally used for food and fiber by the Wichí people -- hunter gatherers of the Argentine semi-arid Chaco region. Disagreement over use, sustainability, scarcity and management of the plant exists between the Wichí and other groups, notably technicians and developers. The majority of Wichí families here live off income derived from the sale of crafts that they produce. Crafts are made from Chaco hardwoods, some are made only using chaguar. To harvest the chaguar, women must travel many kilometers into the forest. Therein lies the belief, among technicians and those involved in development projects, that the chaguar is becoming increasingly scarce. An alternative, they suggest, to traveling to the chaguar, would be to cultivate the crop closer to Wichí settlements. The Wichí do not to agree and do not believe that the chaguar is becoming increasingly scarce and therefore contest any need to cultivate the species. Contrary to what economic theory suggests, unrestricted access neither generates any conflict nor contributes to increased scarcity. Sustainability is put at risk only by 'macro' factors, such as a mistaken land tenure policies and ecosystem degradation. At the same time, harvesting and utilizing chaguar is extremely labor-intensive and increases the cost of the end products. What appears to be adaptive for the conservation of the plant is in fact detrimental to the Wichí. This report analyzes several factors -- supply, demand and sustainability -- all of which reveal a remarkable degree of variability and uncertainty.

Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use, Conclusion

December 1, 2001

The conclusion of Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use summarizes the overarching lessons learned from the case studies provided in the volume. 1. Sustainability of uses of renewable natural resources is dependent on the existence of a 'sustainable society'at the local, national and global levels. 2. Successful biological conservation is a function of equity and democracy. 3. To achieve greater sustainability of uses of natural resources will likely require modification of the roles of organizations and government agencies in authority. 4. The current conservation paradigm of Protected Areas (including as applied to the 'biodiversity hotspots'concept) may not be economically viable in many developing countries, simply because the opportunitycosts often exceed the value local people receive from their existence. National and international agencies and organizations realize most of the value from designation of protected areas and 'hotspots'. 5. It is not possible to transpose directly the combination of factors that influence one case to another site, and expect the same impact or result.6. Donor agencies and/or central government policies need to consider management requirements beyond project cycles in order to promote long-term sustainability of resource uses.7. External factors such as war and natural disasters can have an over-riding influence on the sustainability of resource use. 8. Interventions on key resources by external institutions often pressure transformation of local governance systems. The impact of these changes is often overlooked. More specific observations of common features. Furthermore, the conclusion provides lessons related to policy, social processes, institutions, and information.

Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use, Preface Page

December 1, 2001

This preface page of the volume Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use, provides a summary of the book's purpose and structure. Enhancing sustainability requires a multidisciplinary approach. Because there is such diversity in resources, uses, and users, there is no universal formula, yet to promote, or assess, practices in context is essential. Without this capacity approaches to sustainable use will remain superficial and ineffective.The present volume presents six detailed cases of uses of different facets of biological diversity in Africa (East, West and Southern), Central Asia and South America-Latin America;. The objective of the project was to identify 'Lessons Learned' from examples of sustainable use. To address this objective, six cases were selected because they had been implemented for several years and they were being implemented in different regions, thus enhancing the potential for identifying key lessons. Each of the case studies was examined using an 'Analytic Framework for Assessing the Factors that Influence Sustainability of Uses of Wild Living Natural Resources' The Analytic Framework (Annex 1) provided a consistent, systematic approach to the analysis of the cases according to 'domains of issues' considered important in assessing sustainability, including inter alia, ecological processes and functions, economic factors, societal and institutional factors.

Tanzanian Coastal and Marine Resources: Some Examples Illustrating Questions of Sustainable Use

December 1, 2001

This is Chapter 4 of the book Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use. The coast of Tanzania is characterised by a wide diversity of biotopes and species, typical of the tropical Indowest Pacific oceans, and the peoples living there utilise a variety of its natural resources. Because of the extent of the diversity and variety, several different examples are used by this study to elucidate the complexity of issues and multiplicity of management responses related to use of coastal and marine resources. It emerges that coastal management requires an integrated cross-sectoral approach to address the wide array of inter related issues involved.The study describes the status of selected resources from the principal biotopes (coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and beaches) as well as fish stocks, and it examines various forms of their utilisation. Some special cases of endangered species are also examined. The study attempts to analyse questions of sustainable use in relation to ecosystem dynamics, socio-economic processes, institutions and policies. The characteristics for what we consider as approaching a state of sustainable use are proposed, and the requirements considered necessary for ensuring sustainability are outlined. Past experience and the current status of coastal and marine resource uses are summarised through the examples chosen in order to explain the main constraints to the attainment of sustainability. Cross cutting issues related to the breakdown of traditional management systems for common property resources in the face of increasing commercialisation, privatisation, and external interventions appear to pose general problems. The general experiences of community projects, legislation, and mitigation measures are assessed from the examples we have chosen.

Annex 1: Analytic Framework for Assessing Factors that Influence Sustainability of Uses of Wild Living Natural Resources

December 1, 2001

In December 2001 the SUT and NORAGRIC published Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use comprising the six case studies that use an earlier version of the Analytic Framework as a starting point from which to analyze specific use regimes and management systems. This document is the original Analytic Framework used. The purpose of developing this Analytic Framework is to promote a better understanding of the factors that affect sustainability of the use of living natural resources. This understanding relates to the application of a methodology based on the interaction of different factors that comprise this model. This interaction assumes a multidisciplinary approach that allows for an empirical characterization of the sustainable use of living natural resources from biological, ecological, social, economic, political, cultural and historical points of view.

Reinventing Sustainable Use: Local Management of Natural Resources in Southwest Niger

December 1, 2001

The cost of doing nothing is, quite clearly, bad business. The Sunken Billions, published in 2008 and written by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank, demonstrated the difference between what is made and what could be made if fisheries were better managed is conservatively estimated to be $50 billion per year. Clearly, fisheries are a dramatically underperforming asset. WWF's Living Planet Report 2012 estimated that continuing "Business as Usual" will require two planets by 2030 to meet our annual demands. A key challenge in moving the world economy to a sustainable path, however, is finding ways to achieve sustainability that are socially, economically, and politically viable -- a problem that is particularly acute in marine fisheries. This 2012 fact sheet from WWF, provides information regarding WWF's Financial Institution or the Recovery of Marine Ecosystems (FIRME) initiative which employs an investment model that finances conservation without adversely impacting livelihoods.

Community Wildlife Management in Zambia: Testing Indicators of Sustainable Use in a Case Study of South Luangwa

January 1, 2001

This is Chapter 2 in the larger volume Lessons Learned: Case Studies in Sustainable Use. This study presents a means of evaluating sustainable use using a case study from the South Luangwa Area Management Unit in Zambia as an illustration. It gives more emphasis to processes of sustainability, rather than to the achievement of a particular state. Matrixes are presented for most factors (External/Human Population; and Modifiable factors: Economic -- Price-Policy and Market Distortions; Proprietorship: Socio-Political Organization, Resource Governance and Tenure; Management: Organizations and Resources) together with indicators of the processes involved. Indicators have been defined from two perspectives: From an overall assessment of a number of programmes in a region, and of this particular programme. Emphasis is put on social, economic, and political systems, withmanagement of the natural resource seen as being a consequence of these. The study forwards that the key to sustainable use of wildlife lies in promoting its comparative advantage overother types of land use. Proprietorship, correction of market and policy failures, and management of both human and natural resources are seen as the three main pillars leading to sustainable use. Th