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Responsible stewardship of the world’s fisheries for improved livelihoods

Fisheries and aquaculture support the livelihoods of nearly half a billion people across the world. Yet many of the world’s fisheries are at grave risk from human pressure including overexploitation, pollution and habitat change.

Climate change is warming the atmosphere and the oceans and causing changes in rainfall patterns. This affects the quality of the water that supports aquatic life, and increases the frequency of extreme weather events. 

Some inland lakes and water bodies are drying up, while, in other areas, destructive floods are becoming a regular occurrence. These events have an impact on the seasonal patterns of fish availability and fishing activities, and disrupt the livelihoods of coastal communities.

Wild fish stocks have been hit by overfishing, illegal and destructive fishing practices, and weak fisheries management. Meanwhile, aquaculture is expanding across the globe, providing opportunities for improved nutrition and poverty reduction. However, this also raises the challenge of ensuring sustainable economic, social and technical growth. 

High post-harvest losses and the rights of local communities to access fishery resources are additional concerns. In many cases, the poorest communities in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable.

From access to innovation

IFAD-supported projects secure tenure and access rights for fishing communities, and support the development of small-scale aquaculture production systems in marine, coastal and inland waters. 
Our partners help to develop efficient fish value chains, promote the use of products from community fisheries, and improve fishery management.

IFAD also supports tenure and access rights for coastal communities to fishery resources and helps interested communities to take up sustainable aquaculture. These programmes spur investment in innovative technologies, technical skills, input supply systems, and financial and extension services.

We also support the development of efficient value chains to minimize post-harvest losses, of particular benefit to the millions of rural women who dominate fish processing and marketing.

IFAD’s work with fisheries and aquaculture not only contributes to food and nutrition security but also to environmental protection, sustainable resource use, and biodiversity. 

We strive to strengthen the resilience and capacities of small-scale fishery communities in a regulated and environmentally sensitive manner.



On the banks of the São Francisco, where fishing, tourism and social inclusion converge

Brazil’s São Francisco river is a place of convergences. The river delta, and the stunning tropical forest surrounding it, is home to many different ethnic groups who settled there in search of a fresh start. Plans for a new ecotourism route that would allow visitors to experience the area’s rich culture and traditions were well under way – and then the pandemic struck. Nevertheless, one IFAD-funded project managed to support the region’s artisans and fishers.





Coastal Community Development Project

Papua New Guinea

Artisanal Fisheries Project


Fisheries, Coastal Resources and Livelihood Project (FishCORAL)

Related news

Related news

Call for proposals: Small Fish Grant

November 2019 - NEWS
This call for proposals is to select a recipient or consortium of recipients to receive a three-year IFAD grant financing to implement the project: Promoting sustainable technologies and marketing strategies to increase incomes and reduce food losses in small fish systems for a total amount of up to US$2.5 million.

IFAD and partners invest US$ 30 million in Samoa to make small-scale farming and fishing more profitable and climate-proof

October 2019 - NEWS
IFAD and Samoa have signed a financing agreement to significantly increase agricultural production and incomes for 25,000 smallholder farmer and fisher families, and to help protect against natural disasters on Samoa’s Savai’i and Upolu islands.

Investing in the blue economy to accelerate sustainable development in Africa

May 2019 - NEWS
The President of IFAD, Gilbert F. Houngbo, will be in Maputo, Mozambique for the Growing Blue Conference where he will speak to the need for greater investment in sustainable development for rural people whose livelihoods depend on aquatic resources including small-scale fisheries, aquaculture and coastal environments.

Related publications

Related publications

Good practices in fish nutrition and feeding

September 2021
This manual of good practices in fish nutrition and feeding in the specific context of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was produced to build the capacities of fish farmers and extension services, and promote other aquaculture technologies and manuals of good aquaculture practices developed by WorldFish.

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Advantage: Fostering food security and nutrition, increasing

November 2019
This report presents selected achievements and lessons from the growing portfolio of fisheries and aquaculture investments supported by IFAD.

Research Series Issue 40: Local-economy impacts of cash crop promotion

October 2019
This is the first study to quantify the general equilibrium impacts of introducing a new cash crop into a poor isolated economy, including impacts on environmentally sensitive fishing activities.