Project 5: Restoring production from capture fisheries

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Project 5: Restoring production from capture fisheries
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Core problem: Increasing human populations and reduced productivity of wild fisheries (through overfishing and habitat degradation) mean that a lower proportion of the coastal population derives livelihoods from wild stocks of fish. This need not be the case. Unlike other production systems, where it has been necessary to turn from hunting and gathering to agriculture and animal husbandry, many of the coastal waters of the world are still best managed as wild fisheries, and have the potential to produce much greater sustainable harvests if they can be restored to former levels. The problem is to identify and implement the measures necessary to rebuild fish stocks to more productive levels, so that they can eventually support more people, with the least social dislocation. The solution to this problem has two main dimensions: i) understanding the biology of stocks and the effects of fishing to identify the interventions needed to allow recovery, and ii) developing policies, governance and institutional arrangements to restore stocks to more productive levels. This project is linked closely to Project 6, which aims to provide alternative livelihoods for fishers displaced from their normal vocation while stocks recover, and Project 3, which focuses on identifying and mapping essential fish habitats. This project is expected to provide information currently lacking in most ICM projects, and will help the Philippines meet its commitment to Restoration of Fisheries by 2015‘.

Main Activities

  • Stock assessments to determine the levels of effort that need to be removed from fisheries to allow them to recover to more productive levels.
  • Surveys and tapping of local knowledge to identify the spawning and nursery areas of important species so that these essential areas can be managed appropriately.
  • Development of options for reducing fishing capacity, and distributing the remaining effort equitably among sectors. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are seen as a potential tool in this regard. However,  thorough research is needed to identify the types of situations where MPAs are likely to work best (e.g. self-recruiting populations), the size and number of areas needed, and the timeframes for recovery of different species.
  • Development of fishery management measures to ensure/promote sustainable levels of fishing.
  • Development of policies and governance systems to remove excess fishing capacity to allow stocks   to recover, and permit re-entry of more fishers once stocks have recovered (on a sustainable basis).
  • Identification of options for institutional arrangements that will promote effective management of shared stocks at all levels (from coral reef species with distributions spanning a few km to   transboundary fisheries).


Year 1:

  • Resource assessments including stock/population status, spawning and nursery areas (in     conjunction with habitat mapping in Project 3), and fisheries dynamics and fishing effort.
  • Development of fisheries management measures to ensure and promote sustainable fisheries    including managing excess fishing capacity and establishment of MPAs, restocking, etc.

Year 2:

  • Policies and governance systems including institutional arrangements that will promote effective management of coastal fisheries in the project site.

Key outputs

  • A biological basis for effective management of fisheries based on stock delineation and knowledge   of the essential supporting habitats.
  • Assessments of the reduction of fishing effort needed to restore capture fisheries to optimum productive levels.
  • Options for reducing fishing effort in an equitable, biologically sound way, including an evaluation of the role of MPAs.
  • Responsible methods for expediting the recovery of wild stocks through the release of cultured juveniles.
  • Policies for the removal of excess fishing capacity resulting in the least social dislocation.
  • Governance systems and institutional arrangements for the effective management of stocks during   the restoration period, and thereafter.

Expected impacts

  • Increased understanding about the potential for capture fisheries to provide greater yields, and the steps that need to be followed to deliver these gains.
  • Reduced catches and loss of livelihoods from capture fisheries in the short term until recovery   occurs offset by greater sustained yields and job opportunities in the long term due to increased   productivity derived from more robust stocks.

Project Leader

  • Gerry Silvestre ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

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