How can ecosystem services support equitable and sustainable fisheries?

TitleHow can ecosystem services support equitable and sustainable fisheries?
March 2018
Daniela Diz
Project code

There are knowledge gaps on the flows of ecosystem goods and services in the seas and oceans – and these gaps hamper equitable and sustainable fisheries management. Methods for measuring and monitoring ecosystem services can help conserve biodiversity in the fisheries sector as a way to alleviate poverty and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The key messages of this policy brief from the ESPA programme and Strathclyde University are:

  • Methodologies to understand ecosystem service flows and tradeoffs in fisheries management can be applied even in data-poor contexts.
  • Ecosystem monitoring should consider cumulative impacts of development and conservation measures on fisheries and communities.
  • Early consideration of livelihoods in conservation measures is crucial for equitable and effective outcomes, and needs to be complemented by social safety nets and capacitybuilding.
  • Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes that incorporate traditional knowledge can effectively incentivise conservation and improve livelihoods.
  • Identifying overlooked trade-offs through use of disaggregated data can contribute to equitable and integrated marine and coastal management.
  • A stronger focus is needed on the governance of small-scale fisheries, both among and within States, including evaluating ecosystem services as part of integrated impact assessments.

Featured image courtesy of WorldFish

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