Inland Fisheries

Fishers’ knowledge and the ecosystem approach to fisheries: applications, experiences and lessons in Latin America. Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 591.

Managing inland fisheries

The ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) is a general approach to fisheries management that essentially balances the aims for human and ecological well-being under the broad concept of sustainable development in a fisheries context. The broad data and information base required for implementing the EAF incorporates scientific, traditional and local knowledge of fisheries resources, the ecosystem, and the socio-economic context. Fishers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that is extremely valuable for research and management of fisheries, particularly in the case of small-scale fisheries in developing countries, where scientific data are often scarce. A major impediment to the integration of fishers’ knowledge (FK) in the EAF is the lack of formal guidance on this topic. This technical paper provides a series of reviews and case studies from nine Latin American countries on how to integrate FK knowledge into fisheries management under the EAF. The cases cover a broad range of topics including the expertise of fishers and its application to the EAF, as well as methods and legal instruments to use FK in fisheries assessment and management. In general, the papers emphasize FK in the context of small-scale fisheries in both marine and inland systems in Latin America and the role of fishers as active participants in research and management processes.