Capacity Development Portal
Good Practices

Fisheries and aquaculture management and conservation

  1. Reduction of Environmental Impact from Tropical Shrimp Trawling
  2. Post-harvest processing : the Chorkor oven
  3. Promoting the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries
  4. FishCode : Global Partnerships for Responsible Fisheries
  5. Promoting microfinance in fisheries communities
  6. Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Approach

Supporting and strengthening the mechanisms that affect both resource exploitation and livelihoods in small-scale fisheries communities using a holistic approach

What problem did it address, where?

The key challenge in fisheries development in small-scale fishing communities is to reduce poverty, vulnerability and marginalization among people engaged in small-scale fishing while at the same time maintaining the productivity of the fishery resources.

The Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme's (SFLP) primary goal is to assist fisheries communities to enhance their livelihoods by strengthening their human and social capital through the sustainable use of aquatic resources and the development of an appropriate political and institutional environment, which takes the aspirations of the communities into consideration.

SFLP's actions have strengthened both resource management systems and the livelihood systems of fisherfolk by promoting strategies for poverty alleviation that reinforce peoples' existing capabilities, are participatory and empowering, and take into account the limitations of resource renewability.

The SFLP has succeeded in:

  • assisting governments in drafting policy and action plans that incorporate some of the provisions of Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries CCRF) and subsequently integrating them into large scale programmes like the National Programmes for Poverty Alleviation;
  • providing support to communities to enable them to develop their own capacities to participate more effectively in the planning and management of fisheries and thus create links with local structures such as decentralized institutions, NGOs and development partners; and
  • establishing and building upon regional information and communication structures to share information, achievements and lessons learned from SFLP-funded development projects.


SFLP action:

  • actively supported a better integration of fisheries into existing PRSPs. In 2005, the fisheries sector is integrated in 5 more countries' final PRSP (Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Niger).
  • piloted fisheries management projects based on partnerships between local and national government and fishery sector organizations and other interest groups. Co-management pilot projects are underway in eight countries. They are supported by wider institutional reform to provide a policy environment conducive to sustaining co-management arrangements beyond the life of these projects. Results of these management experiments include the development of sustainable means of financing stakeholder involvement. In Ghana, e.g. the level and use of taxation of fisheries activities are negotiated between the fishing communities, the local government and the fisheries administration.
  • The SFLP discussed with the heads of the radio stations and some of their audience to understand how stations could serve the fishing communities better and how they can support the implementation of the co-management plans in Lakes Bagré, Sélingué and Volta. To this end, small projects were initiated to make local FM radio stations more useful to fishing communities by encouraging them to address appropriate topics in their programmes and to grant airtime to the fisherfolk themselves. This has enabled communities to discuss themes directly linked to fisheries (the current situation of a resource, banned fishing gears, responsible fisheries, co-management of resources, etc.). Other priority themes such as poverty reduction, local development and social issues associated with education, health and gender could also be addressed by community radio stations.

Where next?

  • The institutional anchorage within FAO headquarters in Rome enables contributions and responses to global policy agendas and provides access to unrivalled technical expertise both within FAO itself and through its global network of collaborators
  • The existing regional technical support unit, based in Cotonou, Benin, helps foster emerging areas of skill and knowledge and supports policy harmonization. It also provides a regional data bank and policy research facility.
  • National coordination units work within existing government structures and are able to ensure that issues of national significance are highlighted and addressed in regional programmes. Finally, the SFLP has built the capacity of a range of development actors to work directly, or through local government, with fisherfolk's organizations at both national and local level and with community-based organizations and donor and NGO field programmes, many of whom had not previously worked in the fisheries sector. These networks are in an ideal position to provide the responsive policy action and development interventions that are required to support Africa's future growth and development.

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