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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.


AgTalk – Seaweed Power

On the island of Zanzibar, the sea had always been a man's domain. But researcher Flower Ezekiel Msuya says things started to change when local women unleashed the commercial potential of seaweed.




Coastal Community Development Project
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Papua New Guinea

Artisanal Fisheries Project
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Fisheries, Coastal Resources and Livelihood Project (FishCORAL)
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octobre 2015 - NEWS
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Related publications

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests - Implications for IFAD

février 2014
Following an inclusive consultation and negotiation process, which involved more than 70 countries, international organizations, and representatives of the civil society and the private sector, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGs) were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012. The VGs set out principles, technical recommendations and practices for improving the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests. They promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to these resources as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and protecting the environment. They give recommendations to countries and to other key actors, who are strongly encouraged to adopt and use them on a voluntary basis.

How to do note: Fisheries, Aquaculture and Climate Change

novembre 2015
Fisheries and aquaculture are important contributors to food security and livelihoods at household, local, national and global levels. However, while aquaculture production is growing rapidly throughout the world, particularly in Asia and Africa, many of the world’s fisheries are at grave risk from human pressures, including overexploitation, pollution and habitat change. Climate change is compounding these pressures, posing very serious challenges and limiting livelihood opportunities.
Climate change is transforming the context in which the world’s 55 million fishers and fish farmers live and work, posing a major threat to their livelihoods and the ecosystems on which they depend. For millennia, small-scale fisheries and fish farmers have drawn on their indigenous knowledge and historical observations to manage seasonal and climate variability but today the speed and intensity of environmental change is accelerating, outpacing the ability of human and aquatic systems to adapt.

Guidelines for Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Fisheries and Aquaculture Projects

juin 2014
These Guidelines are the result of an extensive process of consultation and a concerted effort that brought together different fisheries and
climate change experts in different moments in time. Substantive inputs were provided by a range of stakeholders, including smallholder
farmers, aquaculturists, academics, personnel from ministries of agriculture and environment, and development cooperation partners.
LANGUAGES: English, French

Contact us

For questions please contact Richard Abila,

Senior Technical Specialist - Fisheries and Aquaculture,

+39 065459 2865