Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project

Over 400 million people in the Bay of Bengal area are dependent on coastal and marine resources for their food, livelihood and security. Rapid population growth, high dependence on resources and increased land use has resulted in over exploitation of fishstocks and habitat degradation, and has led to considerable uncertainty whether the ecosystem will be able to support the livelihoods of the coastal populations in the future.
Despite the large number of international, regional and sub-regional bodies and programmes operating in the Bay, none have a clear mandate, geographical scope and/or capacity to support a regional initiative that would effectively address the issues confronting the coastal communities of the BOB. Furthermore, the current existence of many ineffective policies, strategies and legal measures at the National level would likely impede the development of any regional arrangements. Other major constraints include weak institutional capacity at national levels, insufficient budgetary commitments, and lack of community stakeholder consultation and empowerment.
Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, have declared their willingness to work together through the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) Project and lay the foundations for a coordinated programme of action designed to improve the lives of the coastal populations through improved regional management of the Bay of Bengal environment and its fisheries.

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Newsletter - Dec 2012


Essential EAFM

Developing capacity in the ecosystem approach to fisheies management (EAFM)

Introducing Essential EAFM

The Essential Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) training course recognizes that traditional stock-based fisheries management approaches have often been ineffective in the complex fisheries of the Asia-Pacific region.

The ecosystem approach offers a practical and effective means to manage fisheries more holistically. It represents a move away from fisheries management that focuses on target species, towards systems and decision-making processes that balance environmental, human and social well-being within improved governance frameworks.

The five-day course is not only targeted at mid-level fisheries and coastal resource managers but also environmental, economic development and planning staff in recognition that many of the challenges and issues that threaten sustainable fishing fall outside of the mandate of fisheries management agencies.

Although the training material focuses on Asian coastal marine capture fisheries, the course can be applied to any fisheries system.

The course was jointly developed by specialists in fisheries, conservation, resource management and education and training from the FAO Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project, the U.S. Coral Triangle Support Partnership, NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC), and IMA International.

What course materials are available?

A complete set of Essential EAFM course materials has been developed and is available free of charge. These include learning modules, presentations, tools to be used at different stages in the EAFM process, a resource guide, handbook, session plans and workbooks.

To download the training course materials or for more information visit: or contact

Want to manage fisheries better? The ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) is the answer. Comprehensive FAO Essential EAFM training materials available free of charge at