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B.P. Satia


This paper articulates the combined use of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) and the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) in promoting ecosystem considerations in Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF). The paper points out that EAF and SLA have much in common both in what they aim to achieve and the approach they adopt, and that the strong similarities between the two approaches justify their combined use in promoting effective SSF management in an ecosystem context.

EAF could supplement the SLA in specific instances concerned with the conservation and management of natural capital and with transforming policies, institutions and processes (PIP) related to the sustainable use of aquatic living resources by SSF. Conversely, the SLA could complement the EAF implementation in the rural, small-scale fishery sector where specific approaches are needed, in particular, when assessing potential impacts of policies and finding support for their implementation.

It is suggested that policy related research undertaken by multidisciplinary teams, including scientists/experts outside the fisheries sector and local scientists, through case studies, research on participatory methods, and of what indicators are appropriate in relation to SSF as well as studies on how to integrate good information from various sources including local knowledge and scientific information and data would be appropriate ways to increase our understanding on how to maximize returns, both for human and ecological well being, by using these combined approaches in small-scale fisheries.

The paper is in five parts. Part I outlines the origins and justification for this paper. Part II briefly describes EAF and SLA and outlines the similarities between the two approaches in the perspective of their possible use in SSF and compares, in a tabular format (Table 1), the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Code), EAF and SLA. In Part III, the paper identifies the main entry points of EAF in SLA and in Part IV suggests key areas which require research and emphasis to facilitate the combined use of EAF cum SLA in SSF. Part V, the Conclusion, refers to the benefits of combining the two approaches in SSF but also cautions that the process will take time and there will be trials and errors, with greater demands for training on these evolving paradigms.


The purpose of this paper is to present briefly the strong similarities between the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) and the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) and articulate their combined use in promoting ecosystem considerations in Small-scale Fisheries (SSF).

It is hoped that studies in the areas identified in this paper as deserving further research/emphasis, will contribute to improving understanding on how to operationalize EAF in SSF, contribute to the development of a tool box in this area, and also facilitate the transition to responsible SSF, bearing in mind the developing paradigm of EAF.

In recent years, there has been a deeper and broader sense of stewardship in response to increased awareness of the importance of aquatic resources and the deteriorating status of fisheries. The international community recognizes that there are a wide range of societal objectives for and values of fisheries resources and aquatic ecosystems within the context of sustainable development and that current management approaches have not been very successful, as witnessed by the poor state of many world fisheries. In addition, recent scientific advances have raised awareness and highlighted uncertainties about the functional value of ecosystems. It is felt that these shortcomings could be reduced or corrected by placing greater importance on the interactions among fishery resources, and between fishery resources and the dynamic and variable ecosystems within which they exist, dealing with the cornerstone issues of excess capacity, allocation, incentives, etc. from an ecosystem perspective. This requires that we operationalize the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF).

EAF implies the introduction of ecosystem considerations into all dimensions of fisheries. EAF strives to balance diverse societal objectives, by taking into account the knowledge and uncertainties about abiotic and biotic (including human) components of ecosystems and their interactions, and applying an integrated approach to fisheries within ecologically meaningful boundaries. The overall objective of EAF is improved natural resource management (NRM) at an ecosystem level for the economic and social benefits of the fishworkers and consumers.

EAF is not a departure from past fisheries management paradigms. The ecosystem approach to management of the oceans and their resources was consolidated in Agenda 21. Review and coordination of implementation of this area among United Nations agencies, has been facilitated by the Sub-Committee on Oceans and Coastal Areas (SOCA) of the Inter-agencies Committee on Sustainable Development operating under the umbrella of the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC). At its Ninth Session, in July 2000, SOCA considered the relevance of the regional setting for improving coordination among different UN programmes addressing different aspects of coastal and ocean management. Its purpose was the exploration of new ways to integrate the work of the agencies and, in particular, to look for synergies between regional organizations respectively competent for fisheries and for the marine and coastal environment. It was felt that the challenge posed by the development of ecosystem approaches to fisheries management and integrated coastal management could be considered by both types of bodies as a potential platform for practical cooperation[38]. The need for such coordination has also been recognized by marine Regional Fishery Bodies (RFBs) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the recent past[39].

As a first step in this direction, it was agreed that a paper centered around ecosystem-based management in fisheries would be jointly developed by FAO and UNEP. The purpose of this paper is to present consideration which can serve as the basis for potential cooperation between regional fishery bodies (RFBs) and regional seas conventions (RSCs). It describes the concept of fisheries management, the relevant mandates and activities of RFBs and RSCs and the relationships and mutual relevance of their work. Possible mechanisms for cooperation, and issues for future considerations are identified. It is anticipated that such cooperation would be best carried out on a site specific or regional basis, after an initial consideration at the global level by RFBs and RSCsref 1.

At its Twenty-fourth Session, 28 February to 4 March 2001, the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) welcomed the opportunity to address the ecosystem approach to fisheries in the planned Reykjavik Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem and agreed to place greater emphasis on the promotion of ecosystem approaches to fisheries. The Reykjavik conference, held from 1 to 4 October 2001, culminated in the adoption of the Reykjavik Declaration on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystemref 2, which inter alia requested that FAO prepare guidelines for best practices with regard to introducing ecosystem considerations into fisheries management[40].

FAO initiatives towards an EAF were supported at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002, which adopted a Political Declaration and a Plan of Implementation in relation to capture fisheries. In the Declaration, the Heads of State agreed to develop and facilitate the use of diverse approaches and tools, including the ecosystem approach, the elimination of destructive practices, the establishment of marine protected areas and the restoration of depleted stocks in order to achieve sustainable fisheries.

FAO has elaborated technical guidelines on the ecosystem approach to fisheriesref 3 as well as a technical paper on the subjectref 4. The analysis in this paper is based mainly on the guidelines from the point of view of SSF.

To ensure continuity with conventional fisheries management, the FAO Guidelines on EAF use the fisheries management guidelines of the Code as a template and reinforce those sections most pertinent to EAF[41], adding to them, as appropriate, to ensure due attention is given to the extra dimension required by EAF[42].

The FAO Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR), at its Fourth Session, in December 2002, highlighted that small-scale fisheries had not received the research attention that they deserved considering the important contribution they make to nutrition, food security, sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation, especially in developing countries. The Committee pointed out that although many of the issues, such as user-rights, excess capacity, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, trade and incentives, governance, etc., are common across all fisheries, they need explicit attention in the small-scale fisheries (SSF) context. The Committee recommended that a working party be convened to elaborate a draft research agenda, evaluate the role and importance of small-scale (marine) fisheries and outline ways in which the transition to responsible fisheries could be facilitated, bearing in mind the developing paradigm of EAFref 5.

The Twenty-fifth Session of COFI in February 2003 recognized that EAF was fully relevant for SSF management. The Committee suggested that FAO, through case studies on SSF, develop an adopted EAF toolbox with rapid appraisal techniques, participatory processes, conflict resolution, integrated resource assessment and management, including co-management and capacity-building[43].

For the purpose of this paper, SSF can be broadly characterized as employing labour-intensive harvesting, processing and distribution technologies to exploit marine (and inland water) fishery resources. The activities of this subsector, conducted full-time or part-time, or just seasonally, are often targeted on supplying fish and fishery products to local and domestic markets, and for subsistence consumption. Export-oriented production, however, has increased in many small-scale fisheries during the last 20 years because of greater market integration and globalization. While typically men are engaged in fishing and women in fish processing and marketing, women are also known to engage in near shore harvesting activities and men are known to engage in fish marketing and distribution. Small-scale fisheries operate at widely differing organizational levels ranging from self-employed single operators through informal micro-enterprises to formal sector business. This subsector, therefore, is not homogeneous within and across countries in any region. Other ancillary activities of the subsector, such as net-making, boat-building, engine repair and maintenance, can provide additional fishery-related employment and income opportunities in fishing communities[44].

In the process of facilitating the transition to responsible SSF in an ecosytem context, it would seem logical to take into account the principles of the SLA. SLA is a participatory learning process that provides (local people) the opportunity to think about the objectives, scope and priorities concerning their livelihoods, take steps to improve their capabilities, assets, including both material and social resources, and activities required for a means of living to achieve lasting improvements against the indicators of poverty that they themselves identify from a baseline they define. At a practical level, this means that the approach:

- starts with an analysis of people’s livelihoods and how these have been changed over time;

- fully involves people and respects their view;

- focuses on the impact of different policies and institutional arrangements upon people/households and upon the dimensions of poverty they define (rather than on resources or overall outputs per se);

- stresses the importance of influencing these policies and institutional arrangements so that they promote the agenda of the poor;

- works to support people to achieve their own livelihood goals (although taking into account considerations regarding sustainability).

SLA, as a participatory exercise is formalized by the people themselves at each step of the process.

The SLA has been in existence, and has been evolving, since the 1980s. It is used by a number of development agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). DFID’s approach to sustainable livelihoods was formalized in UK Government’s White Paper on International Development in 1997ref.6. SLA has recently found its place within FAO through a number of policy-related projects in fisheries, forestry and livestock supported by DFID. The fisheries project in question is: the Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme (SFLP) in 25 coastal and landlocked countries in West Africa[45]. The overall goal of the SLA is poverty eradication. Poverty is seen both in terms of actual poverty and vulnerability to poverty. Globally SSF workers have been identified as one of the world’s poorest groups. It is recognized that the situation must change if the vulnerability of SSF is to decrease and if those in the sector who are poor, are to have their livelihoods improvedrefs 7, 8. The analysis in this paper with regard to SLA is based mainly on the document by Carney and on lessons learned in applying SLA in the SFLP.


Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries

Many attempts have been made to define “ecosystem”. In this paper, an ecosystem is defined as an organizational unit consisting of an aggregation of plants, animals, including humans and micro-organisms, along with the non-living components of their environment.

A functional principle is that ecosystems are one in a hierarchy of biological organizations in which the integrated whole is more than the sums of the parts and are comprised of living plants and animals, including man as well as non-living or abiotic structures. Ecosystems can be defined at many scales, they may overlap or be nested together. Although they can be spatially defined, most of them have no fixed boundaries, especially within the aquatic environment and they can exchange matter and information with neighbouring ecosystems. However, to implement EAF at an operational level, delineation of the boundaries is necessary.

Ecosystems are sustainable when they are healthy, maintain integrity and productivity. These terms are defined as follows:

Ecosystem health i.e. an ecosystem being able to maintain its structure [organization] and function [vigour] over time in face of external stress [resilience].

Ecosystem integrity i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to support and maintain a balanced, harmonious, adaptive biological community that demonstrates species composition, diversity and functional organization, comparable to that of natural habitat in the region.

Ecosystem productivity i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to produce goods and services to meet human needs.

Key components of EAF

The key components of EAF are its goals, objectives, framework and principles.

The overall goal is to plan, develop and manage living aquatic resources in a manner that addresses the multiple needs and desires of societies, without jeopardizing the options for future generations to benefit from the full range of goods and services provided by aquatic ecosystems.

These goods and services would include food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable development, but also conserving biodiversity, maintaining fishery habitats and protecting important food chains. This goal is realized through the achievement of the following broad objectives:

(i) Enhancing individual and community wellbeing and welfare by following a path of economic development that safeguards the welfare of future generations;

(ii) Providing for equity within and between generations, and

(iii) Protecting biological diversity and maintaining essential ecological processes and life support systems.

These broad objectives correspond to the broad concepts of maintaining ecosystem health, ecosystem integrity and ecosystem productivity and utilizing the productivity in an equitable manner.

However, these objectives can only be achieved by transforming these concepts to more detailed issues such as conserving biodiversity, maintaining fishery habitats, protecting important food chains functioning, etc. and then translating these issues into sub-issues until one arrives at specific issues or activities that can be related to operational objectives and can be realized by applying a management measure.

The strategies for translating policy goals into action include:

- identifying broad objectives relevant to the fishery (or area) in question;

- further breaking these objectives into smaller priority issues and sub-issues that can be addressed by management measures;

- setting operational objectives;

- developing indicators and reference points;

- developing decision rules on how the management measures have to be applied, and

- monitoring and evaluating performance.

The principles of the EAF

Like any other approach, EAF has a set of elements to determine the way to implement sustainable development in the fisheries context. It deals with current fisheries management practices and more explicitly recognizes the interdependence between human wellbeing and ecosystem wellbeing.

EAF emphasizes the need to maintain or to improve ecosystem health and integrity and to maintain or increase fishery productivity for both present and future generations. Fisheries have the potential to alter the structure, biodiversity and productivity of aquatic ecosystems. However, the natural resources should not be allowed to decrease below their level of maximum productivity. EAF attempts to do this by addressing a number of concepts that have been expressed in instruments and particularly in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries[46].

Applied in a consistent manner with the provisions of the Code, fisheries management under EAF respects the following principles:

- fisheries should be managed to limit their impact on the ecosystem to the extent possible;

- ecological relationships between harvested, dependent and associated species should be maintained;

- management measures should be compatible across the entire distribution of the resource (across jurisdictions and management plans);

- precautionary approach should be applied because the knowledge on ecosystems is incomplete, and

- governance should ensure both human and ecosystem wellbeing and equity.

The ecosystem framework

The EAF framework is a tool to help understand the elements of sustainable development in the fisheries context and the processes by which it could be used.

The EAF framework described in the FAO Guidelines on EAF as “Moving Towards EAF Management” provides guidance on what needs to be done in terms of implementation of the approach. The guidelines also provide leads on how it should be done.

The framework consists of eight main categories.

- The fisheries management process: The setting of economic and social objectives would need a broader consideration of ecological values and constraints than is presently the case. Broader stakeholder base, increased participation and improved linkages of fisheries management with other planners working on aquatic ecosystems.

- The biological and environmental concept and constraints: Greater emphasis in management practices would need to be given to the fact that many components are intrinsically linked in the system in a complex flow of material, energy and information.

- The technological considerations: Greater attention should be given to broadening the approaches to include other measures such as modifying populations by restocking or culling, where appropriate and effective. Habitat restoration, and marine protected areas (MPAs) would need to be established in the context of facilitating fishing activity or enhancing the populations of target species, as well as protecting biodiversity and providing broader benefits to the system as a whole. In addition, consideration should be given to the development and successful introduction of alternative cost-effective technologies and fishing practices. Fisheries managers would need to take a proactive approach so that their appropriate authorities recognize fisheries as an important stakeholder in these sectors.

- The social and economic dimensions: Emphasis should be laid on the wider economic, social and cultural benefits that can be derived from fisheries resources and the ecosystems in which they occur as a broader range of ecosystem goods and services is under scrutiny. This would imply the need for addressing a wider range of trade-offs between different uses, non-uses and user groups. Traditional fisheries management practices would need to be taken on board and the dependence of SSF communities on fishing for their livelihoods and food security would need to be addressed and indeed stressed.

- The institutional concepts and functions: There would be a need for better institutional coordination, for example, between ministries. This will require clarification of roles and responsibilities, improved coordination and integration across government and other users and more accountability across all stakeholders groups. Greater emphasis would be placed on planning and capacity-building, aimed at improving, understanding of ecosystem structures and functions, training of managers and regulators to deal with a broader range of options and trade-offs, conflicts, rights and regulations, etc.

- The timescales in the fisheries management process: Longer timescales would be needed when dealing with issues such as climate change or the wellbeing of future fisheries generations. However, the usual timeframes for fisheries management process - a policy cycle of about five years, a fishery management planning and strategy cycle of three to five years, and a shorter cycle of management implementation and review at an operational level, usually annually, would still be appropriate.

- The precautionary approach: It would gain even greater significance because it is expected that uncertainty would be recognized to be much greater than typically is the case in conventional fisheries management. This is because, under EAF, the principle is much broader than environmental degradation and applies to any undesirable outcome (ecological, social or economic) in all stages of the management process.

- The special requirements of developing countries: Significant additional burden and challenge would be faced, particularly in small-scale fisheries where the difficulty and cost of the transition to effective management may outlay the available capacity and short-term economic benefits derived from it. The problems are likely to be accentuated where poverty is widespread or alternatives to fisheries are scarce. Efforts would need to be devoted therefore to mobilize more resources to implement EAF.

Expected outcomes

The expected outcomes, if the principles of EAF were effectively applied or implemented, include: the elimination or reduction of overfishing; the rebuilding of depleted stocks and the environment; a reduction in the negative impact of fishing operations on fish stocks; the conservation of biodiversity; a more appropriate application of the precautionary approach with improved research to better understand ecosystems; taking measures that account for complexity, dynamics of uncertainties, and giving better attention to transboundary impacts.

Other outcomes include improved human wellbeing and equity, better allocation of user rights, the promotion of sectoral integration, the broadening of stakeholders’ participation, and maintenance of ecosystem integrity.

Threats to implementing EAF

A number of factors are likely to threaten the implementation of EAF. These include the following:

- the difficulty of reconciling competing objectives of the multiple stakeholders;

- insufficient or ineffective participation of stakeholders in the development and implementation of the approach;

- insufficient knowledge, as well as biological uncertainties combined with ecological uncertainties;

- lack of adequate capacity for informative compilation and analysis of available information;

- inadequate solutions to equity issues;

- insufficient definition of the roles and responsibilities among stakeholders;

- inappropriate stakeholder behaviour as exemplified by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and

- poverty, particularly within fishing communities and at the national level.


Globally, small-scale fisheries (SSF) have been identified as one of the world’s poorest groups. This belies the great diversity of livelihoods of SSF workers between and within countries. However, what many SSF workers have in common is vulnerability. Many of the world’s resources are at or beyond the level where maximum yields can be sustained in the long-term. In addition many of the aquatic environments are being degraded by a range of activities including industry, urban development, agriculture and mining. It is recognized that the situation must change if the vulnerability of SSF is to decrease and if those in the sector who are poor, are to have their livelihoods improved.

Poverty can be described in both relative and absolute terms. Absolute terms tend to relate to a minimum set of quantifiable conditions which would have application globally. Whilst these are of value for national comparisons, they probably mean little to poor people themselves. The people might describe poverty in very different terms and it is these terms which concern the SLA. Some of the many ways in which people see the quality of their lives and how they wish their lives to change are provided in this paper under “Livelihoods Outcomes”.

Vulnerability is the susceptibility of people to poverty. They may not be poor at present but their livelihoods, or the external environment which shape them, may have features which risk movement toward poverty. SLA is seen as a mechanism to address these shortcomings.

Key components of the SLA

The key components of the SLA are:

- Its goal
- Its core objectives
- A sustainable livelihoods framework
- A set of principles

Box 1: The core objectives of the SLA

  • More secure access to, and better management of, natural resources.

  • Improved access to high-quality education, information, technologies and training and better nutrition and health.

  • A more supportive and cohesive social environment.

  • Better access to basic and facilitating infrastructure.

  • More secure access to financial resources.

  • A policy and institutional environment that supports multiple livelihood strategies and promotes equitable access to competitive markets for all.

The overall goal of the SLA is poverty eradication. Poverty is seen both in terms of actual poverty and vulnerability to poverty.

The goal of the SLA is reached through the achievement of six core objectives (see box 1).

The sustainable livelihoods framework has been developed to help provide guidance on what needs to be done in terms of the implementation of the approach. The principles provide guidance on how it should be done.


The word “livelihoods” can be used in many different ways. The definition within the SLA is:

Livelihoods comprise the capabilities, assets and activities required for a means of living.

Livelihoods are sustainable when they:

- are resilient in the face of external shocks and stresses;
- are not dependent upon external support;
- maintain the long-term productivity of natural resources, and
- do not undermine the livelihoods of, or compromise the livelihoods options open to, others.

The principles of the sustainable livelihoods approach

The SLA is a flexible approach but its principles are an essential element of the approach which should not be compromised. They are the guidelines on how the approach should be implemented. The principles are outlined below.

People-centred: People, rather than resources, are at the centre of the SLA. Sustainable resource-use is one way of achieving benefits for the people involved in the sector. The SLA defines success in terms of the achievement of benefits which the SSF workers define themselves. It builds on their strengths and capacities, relates to their existing livelihoods strategies, and aims to achieve sustainable benefits which they consider as important.

Responsive and participatory: Poor and vulnerable people themselves must be the key players in the development process. Achieving success in the SLA is done with real and active participation of the poor. External operators are there to facilitate, to listen and to respond.

Multi-level: The SLA works at all levels. It works in fishing communities and groups, at district government, central government, regionally and globally. Most importantly it works at the linkages between levels. It is only when these micro-macro linkages are fully operational that the four elements of sustainability can be achieved.

Conducted in partnership: The SLA is implemented in partnership with the private sector, NGOs and the government. It cannot work with only one of the partner groups.

Sustainable: As the name implies, the SLA aims for outcomes which are sustainable.

Dynamic: The SLA recognizes the dynamic nature of the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable; it is flexible and responds to change.

Holistic: The SLA approach attempts to identify people’s most important wants and needs regardless of where they occur in terms of which sector, location, or level. The SLA also recognizes that there is a diversity of participants whose needs, aspirations and capacities will be different.

This does not mean that a holistic analysis of people’s circumstances must always lead to a fully holistic response. For example the SLA allows for a sectoral focus on intervention but promotes linkages between sectors.

The sustainable livelihoods framework

The sustainable livelihoods framework is a tool to help understand the SLA and to understand the actual livelihoods of people dependent on SSF. It is also useful for planning the implementation of the SLA. The framework consists of five components: (1) the vulnerability context of the world in which the fishworkers operate; (2) the livelihoods assets of the fishworkers; (3) Policies, Institutions and Processes (PIP) which affect their lives; (4) the livelihoods strategies which the fishworkers adopt, and (5) the outcomes they achieve or to which they aspire. The framework is shown in Box 2.

Box 2: The sustainable livelihoods framework

The framework provides a checklist of important issues and shows how these links to each other. It draws attention to core influences and processes. It also emphasizes the multiple interactions between the various factors which affect livelihoods. The arrows in the framework are used to show a variety of different types of relationship which will vary in different situations. The different components of the framework are outlined below.

Vulnerability context

The “vulnerability context” is the group of factors operating in the external environment in which people exist and which may affect their susceptibility to poverty.

The livelihoods which people adopt, and the livelihoods outcomes they aspire to, are greatly affected by the vulnerability context. There are three key areas which broadly summarise the factors contributing to the vulnerability context. These are trends, shocks and seasonality.

Box 3 below gives some examples of each of these in the context of SSF.

Box 3: Examples of the different types of factors contributing to the vulnerability context


Declining stocks

Increasing poverty

Declining access to markets

Increasing population dependent on aquatic resources

Rising environmental degradation (biodiversity loss, pollution, habitat destruction, coastal erosion, mangrove loss)

Rising inflation rates and interest on borrowing


Conflict between resource users (large-scale/small-scale)

Economic shocks

Sudden fall in the availability of fish

Outbreak of disease associated with fishing communities and groups

Outbreaks of war


Seasonal availability of fish

Seasonal migrations of fishermen

Seasonal health issues

Seasonal wage labour opportunities

Seasonal demand for fish or particular species

Seasonal insect infestation in processed fish

The vulnerability context is important because it has a direct impact on the lives of SSF workers. Some elements of the vulnerability are outside the control of governments and fishworkers to influence e.g. seasonal availability of fish. Others, such as declining fish resources and conflict between groups of fishworkers, can be addressed.

Livelihoods assets

The SLA is mainly concerned with poor and vulnerable people, such as many of the groups who depend on SSF. The SLA starts from understanding peoples’ strengths and builds on them. The SLA refers to peoples’ strengths as “capital assets”. There are five types of capital assets: human, social, natural, physical, and financial.

Human capital represents elements such as the skills, knowledge, ability to work and good health. All the things which allow a person to pursue a sustainable livelihoods. Without human capital, people are unable to effectively use the other four types of capital. Support to human capital can be directly (such as in the form of training in fishing skills, group organization, processing, credit management) or indirectly (such as through improved education and health policies which support their fishing communities and groups, or through increasing food security from fish by good management).

Social capital is the networks and relationships which exist in communities and groups, and which people make use of in their livelihoods. Some of these are very informal such as trading linkages (e.g. when migrating fishermen link up with fish traders in other countries to sell their fish). Others might be more formal (e.g. where fish processing women belong to a processor group).

Natural capital is the natural resources from which benefits flow to the small-scale fishing communities and groups. These include the fisheries resources themselves and their biodiversity; the mangroves which are used for buildings, and which are also breeding grounds for some species of fish; the sea, lakes and rivers which people fish in and use for transport; freshwater for drinking; good agricultural land for gardens, and forests for fuel wood for fish smoking and cooking, and for timber for houses.

Physical capital is the infrastructure and tools/equipment used to support livelihoods. Of direct fisheries importance to SSF communities and groups are infrastructure such as harbours and jetties, fish landing areas, gear stores, smoking kilns, and ice plants. Tools for production include boats, nets, engines, processing equipment, and ice boxes. Less obvious examples are roads, houses, schools, water supply systems, health clinics, market places, and meeting places.

Financial capital is the financial resources which people use to achieve their livelihoods strategies. It not only consists of cash and savings but also access to credit, and to the ability to quickly and easily converting other assets (such as cattle or jewellery) into cash. Remittances from family members working in the city or overseas may also be important.

Policies, institutions and processes (PIP)

Policies, institutions and processes are the elements that shape the livelihoods of the SSF workers.

Transforming policies, institutions and processes can influence the access which people in SSF have to various assets, the terms under which those assets are traded, and the value of the outcomes of livelihoods strategies.

Institutions are physical entities which often generate the processes. The processes, in turn, determine the way in which those institutions operate. These might include the mechanisms which allow people in SSF to participate in decision-making processes on management and policy. They will include fisheries sector policies but may include a diversity of other policy areas that relate to SSF workers, such as poverty alleviation policies, rural development policies, and education and health policies. (See Box 4).

Box 4: Examples of different structures/institutions and processes related to SSF


- Policy-making and planning departments

- Enforcement agencies and courts

- Fisheries management bodies

- Regional fisheries management and development bodies

- Fisheries research and extension agencies

- Government inputs suppliers

- Commercial enterprises and corporations proving inputs to the sector

- NGOs

- Trade organizations at a higher level than the community or group


- National development policies

- Fisheries sector policies

- International agreements (e.g. Code, UNCLOS)[47]

- Regulations and rules governing fishing, trading and food quality

- Markets for fish

- Licensing arrangements for both local craft and foreign vessels

- Societies norms and beliefs (such as prohibitions on eating types of fish at certain times)

- Age, gender, ethnic groups, class

Transforming policies, institutions and processes can affect the whole of the rest of the framework. They can lead to poorly managed fisheries and thus affect the vulnerability context in which fishworkers operate. Legislation may limit the involvement of the SSF workers in decision-making processes and thus reduce the effectiveness of their social assets.

When looking at transforming policies, institutions and processes it is useful to look at roles, responsibilities, rights, and relations of the different participants in these policies, institutions and processes (e.g. What rights do fishworkers have in defining fisheries management objectives? Whose responsibility is it to enforce the legislation on fishing gear? What is the relationship between the fisheries department and part-time fish workers?).

Current institutions, policies and processes in many countries work to the detriment of the SSF. Making these institutions, policies and processes more positively oriented to the SSF workers will be a major part of any development effort using the SLA. This can be done by helping to build institutions which allow the SSF workers to be more effective (such as mechanisms to allow the fishworkers to participate in the policy process or to contribute to research prioritization) or which allow the government structures to be more focussed on the needs of the SSF workers. Help can also be provided to fisheries departments to gain the skills they need to facilitate greater participation of the SSF sector in planning their own development and contributing to the sustainable use of the fisheries resources.

Creating property rights over fish resources for the SSF workers or introducing community-based co-management structures may be important. Improving access of SSF products to markets may also be important as may limiting the dumping of industrial catches on domestic markets. Risk-reducing mechanisms, such as insurance schemes for fishworkers, may be facilitated through changes to the legislation or through the provision of guidance and information.

Livelihoods strategies

Livelihoods strategies are the range and combination of activities and choices that people undertake or make to achieve their livelihoods goals.

SSF workers often focus on more than one livelihoods strategy. A household may engage in fishing, fish processing and trade, and in producing and selling garden produce. Sometimes those involved in SSF will have to enter into wage labour during the year because of seasonal fish shortages. Often the different members of the household will live in different places at different times of the year (for example migratory fishermen may leave their home country and travel to another country for many months leaving their families behind). These activities contribute to a diversity of strategies.

When analysing livelihoods strategies it is important to realise that those people involved in SSF are not a homogenous group. There are many different stakeholders and they may have distinct or subtle differences in their respective strategies. One of the difficulties to be encountered by the SLA is that different groups of people sometimes have competing livelihood strategies and it may be difficult to accommodate everyone’s needs. It will be important to recognize these competitive elements and to work out approaches which generate some harmony between them.

Livelihoods outcomes

Livelihoods outcomes are the achievements or outputs of livelihoods strategies.

Livelihoods’ outcomes can be defined in terms of both what people actually achieve and what they aspire to achieve (livelihoods’ goals). These outcomes will be very different for different people and the SLA does not assume that it is possible to define livelihoods’ goals from the outside. These must be defined by the people themselves.

The aim of the SLA is to improve the outcomes of the livelihoods of those people involved in SSF in ways which reflect their aspirations and needs.

There are a wide diversity of actual and potential outcomes (see Box 5).

Box 5: Broad categories of livelihoods outcomes

More income

This is an important consideration for many people because it often gives them the opportunity to improve their other capital assetse.g. increased wealth can result in better housing (physical capital) or access to stronger social structures (social capital).

Increased well-being

People also value non-material things such as a sense of inclusion (e.g. in decision-making processes about sector), physical security or employment, access to services and maintenance of their cultural heritage.

Improved food security and better health

Closely linked to increased wellbeing is improved food security and better health. In SSF access to resources is directly linked to food security. A good balanced diet is essential for maintaining the health aspect of human assets. Supporting livelihoods diversity will be important to achieve this.

Better education

Along with health, education is a key aspect of human capital which gives many people the opportunity to diversify their livelihoods strategies or move out of fisheries when such things as population pressure or depleted stocks are increasing the vulnerability of the communities or groups.

Reduced vulnerability

In many situations, fisheries resource depletion or conflict between fishworkers will be increasing the risks to which people are exposed. Reducing this vulnerability will often be more important that actually increasing income.

More sustainable use of the natural resource base

This is a major concern of fishworkers whether or not they are involved in harvesting, processing or trade. The sustainable use of the resource is the key to many of their capital assets and to many of the other livelihoods outcomes.

Sometimes there can be a conflict between different outcomes. It may be necessary to trade outcomes off against each other or, if possible, to arrive at strategies which are able to enhance all types of outcomes. The priorities of the people themselves will be important in deciding on which outcomes to focus. The SLA is about assisting people to achieve their own livelihoods’ goals. However, this must be done without sacrificing sustainability. Fishermen may wish to fish resources in the short-term to the point where biodiversity is severely affected. This would conflict with the sustainability of their livelihoods.

The achievement of desired livelihoods’ outcomes is an indicator of the success of the implementation of the SLA. However, many of the outcomes will be difficult to measure with any accuracy and so proxies for these may have to be developed with the communities or groups.


The EAF and the SLA have at their base sustainable development and this requires that both approaches converge towards a more holistic approach that balances both human and ecological wellbeing. EAF and SLA have much in common, both in terms of what they aim to achieve and the approach they adopt. They both have, as their starting point, sustainable development. While SLA lays emphasis on people and their existing strength and constraints, EAF stresses the conservation and responsible use of the living aquatic resources. Both approaches are people-centred and responsive and also advocate transparent and participatory management. In both approaches, the importance of scientific evidence and the use of traditional knowledge in decision-making is recognized and advocated and the approaches also recognize the dynamic nature of the livelihoods of the stakeholders, the environment and its resources and, in addition, encourage multi-level framework of operations.

There are also differences between the two approaches and some areas where potential conflict might develop. At the strategic level, EAF is more explicitely prescriptive than SLA, in that it defines the ecological constraints required for sustainable fisheries, and these constraints inevitably must prescribe certain ecological and biological limits and thresholds that should not be crossed. The same thresholds will apply in SLA, but they are not emphasized to the same degree. Although holistic, EAF tends to be narrower in perspective, as the emphasis is on the fisheries sector, although it could also be broader if one considered EAF in the broader context of integrated coastal area management. The EAF, unlike SLA, does not try to enhance directly the assets of the SSF workers, nor does it try to influence directly their livelihoods strategies.

The EAF recognizes the importance of the vulnerability context both in terms of degraded environments (resource depletion, habitat loss and pollution) and the conflicts and disputes which can arise. It also recognizes the linkages between poverty, food security and the natural resource base. However, its approach is to address these mainly by improving the transforming policies, institutions and processes of governments and the development and implementation of appropriate fisheries management plans in an ecosystem context, with well oriented management measures and approaches.

EAF emphasizes more than SLA that greater significanc eand attention be given to the precautionary approach when knowledge is limited and risk is high. Furthermore, whereas SLA is formalized by the people themselves at each step of the process, EAF is formalized through the process of elaboration, implementation, monitoring and adoption of EAF management plans.

The overall goal of the SLA is poverty eradication, but poverty is a major threat to EAF. Implementing EAF could add a significant additional burden and the challenges may be particularly formidable in SSF, where the difficulty and costs of the transition to effective management may outweigh the available capacity and short-term economic benefits derived from it. Greater attention would need to be given to developing countries by tailoring EAF to the capacity available, through financial policies (loans) and aid, as well as technical assistance to build long-term national and regional institutional capacity and the rehabilitation of depleted stocks/fisheries.

Table 1 provides a comparison between the SLA, EAF and the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Code).

Table 1 - A comparison of the SLA, Code and EAF




Goal in relation to target people

Positive outcomes for poor and vulnerable fishworkers. More focussed on the artisanal workers.

Positive outcomes for all workers in the sector. More inclusive, less specific.

Responsible fisheries that do not compromise the multiple needs and desires of present and future generations in the context of the full range of goods and services provided by the aquatic ecosystem.

Immediate objectives

Ensure peoples’ wellbeing is sustainable through improvements against the indicators of poverty and vulnerability.

Ensure responsible fisheries through the implementation of UNCLOS and other related international agreements.

Effective conservation, management, and development of fisheries in an ecosystem context.


Inter-sectoral in nature. More concerned with empowerment aspects. Embraces the concept of risk and vulnerability.

Sectoral in nature. More concerned with operational aspects of fisheries governance.

Inter-sectoral in nature, explicitly recognizes the interdependance between human and ecosystem wellbeing. Embraces risks and environmental degradation.


Lays more emphasis on bottom-up and non-specific. To be led by the SSF workers. More an approach than a toil. Strongly encourages partnership.

More prescriptive. To be largely led by the State but calls for effective stakeholder participation. Highlights norms and standards. More than an approach.

A combination of bottom-up and top-down with greater emphasis on participatory processes.

Entry points

Mainly transforming policies, institutions and processes, and assets.

Mainly transforming policies, institutions and processes in the context of specific areas of fisheries.

Mainly transforming policies, institutions and processes with a focus on natural capital.


The combined use of SLA and EAF is justified because it is generally felt that SSF workers are among the world’s poorest groups and that a common denominator for many of them is vulnerability. The overall goal of the SLA is poverty alleviation, hence, a priori, SLA would seem to be an appropriate mechanism to address SSF, particularly so because the EAF and the SLA have much in common, both in terms of what they aim to achieve and the approach they adopt. If properly designed, the SLA offers a way to facilite tailoring and application of the EAF in a manner which support the SSF workers to achieve or improve their sustainable livelihoods.

Likewise the EAF can facilitate the application of the SLA by providing normative guidance on specific issues in specific instances concerned with transforming policies, institutions and processes (PIP) related to the sustainable use of fisheries and aquatic resources. This in turn will allow the policies, institutions and processes to indirectly provide support to avoid or mitigate the adverse effects of the external environment and support livelihoods assets development.

The SLA is inclusive of the elements of the EAF which relate to the livelihoods of SSF workers but goes far beyond it. Nothing in the SLA conflicts with the EAF, but the application of the EAF, outside of the SLA, could be less supportive of the livelihoods of SSF workers. EAF as presently conceived focuses more on fisheries. The inclusion of SLA would facilitate the incorporation of fisheries issues beyond the fisheries sector, by encouraging closer workable and sustainable linkages across sectorial borders.


Taking into account the situation described so far in this paper, it is suggested that the potential areas for research, common to both SLA and EAF, are those related to policy research, that is, the study of policy processes and policy environments, within which the results of technical, production systems, economic and socio-economic research or actions are applied.

The importance of looking at policy is because policies[48] determine, among other things: access to livelihoods, access to livelihood strategies, access to decision-making bodies and sources of influence, the terms of exchange between different types of capital and returns to any given livelihoods strategy. They also have a direct impact upon whether people are able to achieve a feeling of inclusion and well being and they also account for other unexplained differences on the way things are done in different societies. Many modern management strategies have elements of risk of exclusion and marginalization of fishers. EAF per se, is not free from that risk. The combined use SLA and EAF could be a way to implement the EAF with limited risk to SSF workers.

Institutions refer to all forms or structures recognized by the law and customs, and hence are complexes of norms and behaviours that persist over time by serving collectively-valued purposes. Institutions are important because these are the organizations, both private and public, that set and implement policy and legislation, deliver services, purchase, trade, and perform all manner of functions that affect livelihoods. Public and socio-professional institutions are governed by the rules defining, as much as possible, the behaviour and responsibilities of its members. Institutions draw their legitimacy from the basic governance framework. Another reason why they are important is because they make processes function. Without legislative bodies, for example, there is no legislation, without courts, or some other informal surveillance mechanism to enforce legislation/regulations, the enactment of such legislation is meaningless. When SSF workers do not have access to organizations of the State, they often have little knowledge of their rights and limited understanding of the way in which a government functions. This disenfranchises them and makes it hard for them to exert pressure for changes in processes that affect their livelihoods.

While institutions can be considered to be the hard structures in the sustainable development framework, processes[49] ensure their functionality and they are important because they grant or deny access to assets, they have a strong influence on inter-personal relationships, that is, how different groups treat each other. Processes also provide incentives and enable people to transform one type of asset into another.

Broad objectives for policy-related research

The broad objective for policy-related research, in addressing SSF in the context of SLA cum EAF, would be to better understand:

- the role and effectiveness of policy-making and policy implementation mechanisms (of centralized and decentralized structures);

- how institutions function (particularly traditional institutions);

- processes for the development of appropriate institutions, particularly decentralized ones;

- how both institutions and processes inform policies, and

- impact of globalization and trade on both SLA and EAF.

Suggested areas/themes for research

As a starting point, there is need to undertake an analysis of lessons learned from current practices from the point of view of policy design, and also policy implementation, as they affect SSF. Some key issues that might be addressed to broaden understanding of the subject include:

- What policy making structures exist and how policy is developed.

- How policy implementation processes are optimized.

- Constraints to better transformation of knowledge into policy.

- What are the decision-making processes.

- What is the interface between policy and institutions.

- Extent to which traditional/indigenous knowledge, and information on social and cultural aspects of fisheries systems are used to inform policies.

- The extent to which stakeholders are involved in policy formulation and decision-making, including identification of research needs and priorities.

- The changing role of different management institutions, and how best to make the change[50].

Furthermore, since it is important to use various sources of information and also assess the performance of the fishery in achieving its objectives, research on how best to integrate good information from many sources, including both local and scientific information and data, studies on appropriate participatory methods and on what indicators are appropriate in relation to SSF are other primary areas of research to be considered or emphasized.

Strategy to undertake research

In view of the multi-disciplinary nature of the subjects involved, the research would probably be better undertaken by multi-disciplinary teams of scientists/experts, including scientists outside the fisheries sector and local scientists, through case studies. Such work could involve the development of a toolbox of new approaches including rapid appraisal techniques and participatory processes. Annex 1 contains a list of fairly standard and often overlapping participatory tools and techniques that have been usedref.9 in conflict resolution, integrated resource assessment and management, taking into account political, social and economic perspectives, in the context of SLA framework to uncover the meaning, causes, effects/outcomes, coping mechanisms and strategies adopted by fishing communities to reduce their vulnerability and incidence of poverty.


The SLA and EAF are potentially useful approaches to accelerate the transition to responsible SSF in an ecosystem context. Combining the two approaches with EAF as a tool to provide guidance for the implementation of the SLA has the benefit of offering a wider base of support to the SSF workers while not compromising their wider conservation, management and sustainable use or ecosystem management issues. The indicative areas for research to facilitate the harmonization of the approaches and the transition to responsible SSF, are those related to policy research, the development of appropriate participatory methods, the elaboration of indicators and processes for integrating good information from different sources in the overall management of SSF in an EAF context. The work would probably be better undertaken by multi-disciplinary teams of scientists through case studies.

It should be recognized that EAF depends on, and complements, conventional fishery management tools, contributing to the best available scientific information and the emergence of the collective political will to implement tough decisions in favour of responsible SSF management. The combined use of EAF and SLA should put effective management of SSF into an ecosystem context, so that local knowledge can be more easily integrated into the process. However, the process will take time, and there will be trials and errors. A great deal of education about this new approach will be required and all involved should be prepared to learn.


1 The paper “Ecosystem-based Management of Fisheries, Opportunities and Challenges for Coordination between Marine Regional Fishery Bodies and Regional Seas Conventions”, Regional Seas Reports and Studies No. 175, UNEP, 2001, 52 pp., was presented at the Third Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions organized by UNEP (Monaco, 6-9 November 2000) and the Second Meeting of FAO and Non-FAO Regional Fishery Bodies or Arrangements, organized by FAO (Rome, 20-21 February 2001).

2 Sinclair and Valdimarsson. 2003. Edited papers from the Rejkjavik Conference have been published under the following reference: Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem, Edited by M. Sinclair and G. Valdimarsson. FAO and Cabi Publishing. 2003. 426 pp.

3 FAO. 2003. FAO Fisheries Department, Fisheries Management. The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No. 4, Suppl. 2, Rome, FAO 2003, 112pp.

4 Garcia S.M, Zerbis A., Alhaume C., DoChi T., Lasserre G., The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries: Issues, Terminology, Principles, Institutional Foundations, Implementation and Outlook. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, No. 443, Rome, FAO. 2003. 71 pp.

5 FAO. 2003. Report of the Fourth Session of the (FAO) Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research. Rome, 10-13 December 2002. FAO Fisheries Report No. 699. Rome. FAO. 2003. 25 pp. para. 62.6 Carney. 1998. After the presentation of the White Paper, there have been a number of publications on SLA. One of the early publications is: Sustainable Rural Livelihoods - What contribution can we make?

7 FAO. 2002. Report of the Third Session of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR), Rome, Italy, 5-8 December 2000, FAO Fisheries Report No. 639. 48 pp, paras 17 and 18.

8 FAO. 2003. Report of the Twenty-fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI), Rome, Italy, 24-28 February 2003, paras. 77 and 81.

9 Satia, B.P., O. Njifonjou and K. Angaman. 2002. Fisheries Co-Management and Poverty Alleviation in the Context of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach. A Case Study in the Fishing Communities of Aby Lagoon in Côte d’Ivoire. Paper presented at the CECARE organized international workshop. DFID/FAO Sustainable Livelihoods Programme, Cotonou, November 2001.



Tools and Techniques






Literature Search

Obtain secondary information.

Libraries and institutions.

Search and consultations.

Provides perspectives of the situation.

Information may be very general.


Historical view of important events.

Groups of Elders, Youths and women.

Group discussion, interviews and feed-back.

Expedient summary of events (positive and negatives), Helps identify medium and long-term solutions to problems.

Exercise too long and complex, sensitive issues may be raised.


Gives multiple ideas on issues, problems and solutions.

Groups of elders, youths and women.

Questions and responses on specific issue and summarize results.

Facilitates participation in the idea building process, stimulates people to think, generates ideas and solutions. Useful introduction to structured and focus group discussion.

May result in conflicts and uneasiness in group mat limit value of results.

Venn Diagramme

Identify institutions and their activities as well as relationships.

Socio-professional groups.

Semi-structured interviews.

Easy to use, Provides stakeholders opinion on institutions and identifies conflict situations.

Group may be informal, difficult to appreciate relationships.

Seasonal Calendars

Chronology of activities and preferred Livelihoods strategies.

Socio-professional groups.

Semi-structured interviews.

Encourages a holistic approach, easy to implement.

Brings to surface conflicts between individual and collective strategies.

Trend Analysis

Assess changes over time.

Informants, elders, youths and women.

In-depth discussion of specific issues or phenomena.

Creates awareness of potential positive and negative trends, improves quantity and quality of information, permits comparison of trends.

Relies on memory, tool is complex, local people may loose interest in the subject.

SWOT Analysis

Assess issue of concern, interventions or services; self evaluation.

Groups of elders, youths and women.

Structured brainstorming.

Stresses different sides of an issue, Promotes group creativeness, Issue discussed in detail, Strengths and Weaknesses easy to elicit.

Opportunities and Threats more difficult to elicit, sensitive topics and differences of opinion may arise, tendency by few to dominate.

Validation and Feed-back

Validate and synthesize information.

All groups.

Summarization, discussion and agreement.

Consensus reached, Encourages community attachment to subject.

Minority view may be lost.

Poverty Profiling

Characterization, localization, numeration and description of groups of poor people.

All groups of poor.

Search, semi-structured interviews.

Analytical instruments directly linked to action, provides answers to why people are poor, formulates actions to reduce poverty.

Relies on memory, brings to surface conflicts between individual and collective strategies, some topics too sensitive.

[38] Report of the ACC Sub-Committee on Oceans and Coastal Areas on its Ninth Session, London, 26-28 July 2000, paras. 96 and 97.
[39] RFBs are, in general, concerned about the impacts from other sectors affecting fisheries, including land-based pollution and habitat, as well as the impacts of non-sustainable fishing or fishing techniques and climate. Their concerns and mutual cooperation have been consolidated in the context of biennial meetings of FAO and non-FAO Regional Fishery Bodies or Arrangements, initiated in 1999. UNEP has, on a formal basis, addressed this issue at a number of its meetings, in particular at the First Inter-Regional Programme Consultation (the Hague, 24 to 26 June 1998), as well as at the Second Global Meeting on Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (the Hague, 5-8 July 1999).
[40] Report of the Twenty-fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries, Rome, Italy, 24 -28 February 2003, para. 85-94.
[41] The broad principles and approach for effective and responsible fisheries management are contained in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, many of which relate to an ecosystem approach to fisheries. EAF is, in effect, a means of implementing many of the provisions of the Code and provides a way to achieve sustainable development in a fisheries context.
[42] Succint summaries on EAF and SLA are available as separate documents at this meeting. Also available are copies of the FAO guidelines on EAF.
[43] Report of the Twenty-fifth Session of the Committee on Fisheries, Rome, Italy, 24-28 February 2003, para. 90.
[44] At its Twenty-fifth Session, the Committee on Fisheries discussed “Strategies for increasing the contribution of SSF to food security and poverty alleviation”, on the basis of the characterization of SSF given in this paper. (See also COFI/2003/9,
[45] The Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme (SFLP) represents a partnership between FAO, DFID and 25 participating countries of West Africa. The SFLP uses the Code, and poverty profiling as tools in the SLA context to facilitate changes in policies, institutions and processes to achieve poverty reduction in coastal and inland fisheries communities by improving livelihoods of people dependent on fisheries and aquatic resources.
[46] To ensure continuity between conventional fisheries management and EAF, the FAO EAF Guidelines used the fisheries management guidelines as a template and reinforced those sections most pertinent to EAF, and added to them as appropriate to ensure that they gave due attention to the extra dimension required by EAF.
[47] United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea
[48] Policy is understood to be the course of action or a statement in principle of the kinds of actions which a government, an organization or an association, adopts and pursues to accomplish objectives that it has set, taking into account a number of political, social, economic considerations.
[49] These processes are the series of actions directed towards a particular aim or a series of natural occurrences that produce changes or development and they represent, more or less, the method used by institutions to carry out their work. Put differently, they are the formal and informal practices and rules of the game that determine the structure relationships and make the behaviour of organizations, as well as determining the way in which institutions and individuals operate and interact. Processes are complex and crucial, operate at different levels and may overlap and conflict between them. They are embedded in policies and institutions but also are in the culture and power relationships of societies.
[50] Preliminary work on some of the themes are on-going under the auspices of the SFLP. See, for example, Anon., 2002. “Rapport des ateliers sous-régionaux sur l’impact des politiques, institutions et processus (PIP) sur les moyens d’existence des communautés des pêches en Afrique de l’ouest, Rapport de Terrain No. 12, 148 pp. Anon. 2001. Étude de l’impact des politiques, institutions et processus (PIP) sur les moyens d’existence des communautés de pêche au Sénégal. Programme pour les Moyens d’Existence Durable dans la Pêche en Afrique de l’Ouest, GCP/INT/735/UK, Rapport de Terrain No. 18, 89 pp.; and Anon., 2002, The Contribution of Research to the Sustainable Livelihoods of Artisanal Fishing Communities, Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme in West Africa, GCP/INT/735/UK, Field Report No.14. 49 pp.

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