Governance of Tenure

Fisheries Tenure

Tenure and User Rights in Fisheries

Marine and inland fisheries provide millions of people around the globe with food security and livelihood opportunities. Tenure and user rights in fisheries deals with how marine and inland capture fisheries are accessed, used, and managed using various types of rights-based approaches. While access to fishery resources is a key consideration, it is important to understand that fishing communities also depend on access to other resources, in particular land, for accessory activities and for housing and other livelihood support.

There is a long history of customary and traditional tenure systems in fishing communities. However, tenure rights for fisheries stakeholders, especially informal and indigenous rights, are far less developed or recognized than in other sectors. Advancing knowledge on tenure and user rights in fisheries is a crucial step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and attaining food and nutrition security and livelihood benefits.

A recent milestone for this work is the UserRights 2018, a global conference on tenure and user rights in fisheries, held from 10 – 14 September 2018 in Yeosu, Republic of Korea. During this conference, participants exchanged information and concrete examples by providing case studies on how tenure and rights-based approaches can harmonize the concepts of responsible fisheries in social and economic development.

More Resources

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FIA) has a long history of work on fisheries tenure and user rights and has produced extensive publications. Please find them through the following links. Please note that the list below is non-exhaustive.

Publications on tenure and user rights in fisheries

Other FAO fisheries and aquaculture publications