The sharing of management responsibility and authority between local communities and government over fisheries resources can play a major role in their improvement. The Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) sought to establish mechanisms and build capacity for co-management in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.
In all, 65 various co-management mechanisms or bodies and 41 resource management plans were either created, developed, strengthened or implemented throughout the six participating RFLP countries. This included commune Fisheries Associations established in Viet Nam, Fisheries Committees created in Sri Lanka, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils in the Philippines and Community Fisheries in Cambodia. Amongst the highlights of resource management plans were the development of innovative Village Regulations in Indonesia and the documentation and institutionalization of traditional Tara Bandu management measures in Timor-Leste.
RFLP also gathered and generated significant data and information on fisheries and communities in its areas of geographic coverage. A major highlight was the development of a National Fisheries Statistical System in Timor-Leste. This saw the successful completion of a first ever national census of fishers and fishing vessels that recorded 96% of the nation’s fishing fleet, as well as the piloting of a community-based IUU reporting system. In all countries this information was important for the development of informed fisheries management plans.