Capture fisheries will continue to supply most of the fish consumed in much of the developing world in the coming decades. The majority of these fisheries are small-scale, operating in rivers, lakes and wetlands, and in coral reefs and estuaries in coastal seas. But pressures from within and external to small-scale fisheries threaten sustainability and the equitable distribution of the benefits they provide.

The sustaining small-scale fisheries (SSF) flagship program focuses on the key research question of: What are the most effective routes to improve governance of SSF amid social, economic and ecological changes, in ways that sustain and increase contributions to food and nutrition security and livelihoods of the poor?

To answer this, FISH conducts research in three clusters:

  1. Resilient coastal fisheries
  2. Fish in multifunctional landscapes
  3. Fish in regional food systems

Research is focused on Africa and Asia-Pacific, where the largest numbers of poor people depend on fish for food and nutrition security, and where our research can have impact at scale. In Asia-Pacific, the focus is on inland and estuarine fisheries in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia and coral reef fisheries in Solomon Islands. In Africa, FISH will continue work on inland fisheries and the small fish that constitute the majority of catches.

Strategic investments in fisheries research, embedded in partnerships and networks, and building on the strengths of fishing communities, will sustain and improve human wellbeing and the social-ecological resilience of fishery systems.

Theory of change