Inland Fisheries

Management guidelines for Asian floodplain river fisheries. Part 1: A spatial, hierarchical and integrated strategy for adaptive co-management

Managing inland fisheries

This technical paper provides guidelines for an integrated management strategy for floodplain river fisheries. The paper is written in two separate volumes.

Part 1 presents the guidelines in a ‘user-friendly’ format, to promote their uptake by fishery managers, policy makers and field officers. Recommendations are given both on the alternative technical tools which may be used to manage river fisheries, and on the institutional factors required for their success. The highly variable ecological and social characteristics of floodplain rivers demand locally-appropriate and adaptive solutions, rather than a single ‘blueprint’ approach. The recommended management strategy allocates responsibilities both hierarchically and spatially, and promotes the effective collaboration of government, communities and other stakeholders at appropriate levels.

The more technical Part 2 describes the underlying research work which provided much of the basis for these management guidelines. Investigations were made during four projects funded by the UK Department For International Development (DFID), in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal and Thailand, between 1992 and 1997. Part 2 describes the floodplain river environments, the fish stocks and the fishing practices found at some of these study sites. Justification is given for a range of technical management tools for river fisheries, including the use of access controls and reserves, and the manipulation of water levels within flood control and irrigation schemes to give benefits to fishing as well as agriculture. Final chapters in Part 2 describe lessons learnt on the management of enhancement fisheries (e.g. based on fish stocking), and on the prospects and limitations of participatory management for these resources.