Capture fisheries

Clive Fox, Graeme Macfadyen, Rod Cappell

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The marine environment provides valuable economic, social
and cultural resources, which can contribute to the sustainable
economic development of small island developing states
(SIDS) and larger coastal states. Traditionally exploited marine
resources include living resources, such as numerous species
of fish and shellfish, and non-living resources, such as marine
aggregates and petroleum, as well as supporting global transport
and telecommunication networks. The marine environment
also provides human communities with a broad range of
essential services that support economic well-being and human
health. Furthermore, new opportunities have emerged that are
gradually being realised, including marine renewable energy
and mariculture; currently, there is interest in marine genetic
resources with potential pharmaceutical and industrial benefits.
With the growing threats posed by a changing climate, it is
increasingly evident that we need to pay more attention to our
planet’s oceans. The recent concept of the ‘blue economy’ – which
emerged during the 2012 Rio+20 United Nations Conference
on Sustainable Development – recognises the need to maximise
the enormous economic potential presented by the ocean
while preserving it. Over the past three years or so, the ‘blue
economy’ has been embraced by many SIDS as a mechanism for
realising sustainable growth around an ocean-based economy.
In that time, the idea of the blue economy has emerged as a key
component of a new global dialogue about the role of the oceans
and seas in sustainable development. For SIDS in particular,
the concept of the blue economy presents itself as a promising
avenue for economic diversification and growth embedded in
fundamental principles of environmental sustainability.
The Commonwealth Blue Economy Series aims to support the
development of the blue economy in Commonwealth member
countries by providing a high-level assessment of the opportunities
available for economic diversification and sustainable growth
in SIDS.
This third volume in the series explores the potential for the
further development of capture fisheries as a key contributing
sector to the blue economy. Nearly all SIDS have a long history
BK-CWT-FISHERIES-160248.indd 6 9/16/2016 6:52:51 PM
Summary vii
of inshore fisheries, but many have suffered from over-fishing
and coastal degradation. Many SIDS have also developed their
offshore fisheries and, although these fisheries may involve some
domestic vessels, most of the landings come from third-party
vessels. These third-party vessels often also fish outside
200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) limits, in high-seas
waters. Management of these offshore fisheries therefore relies
heavily on regional and international cooperation and has also
been only partially effective, leading to some significant stock
declines. Despite these problems, the capture fisheries of most
SIDS continue to provide valuable sources of nutrition, income
and foreign exchange; however, the benefits could be increased
with more effective management.
The purpose of this report is to present recommendations
that could be implemented by SIDS to protect and sustainably
develop their capture fisheries within a blue economy model.
The report describes some of the challenges faced in managing
capture fisheries, the potential for a blue economy approach
to making improvements, some suggestions for strategies and
activities that could be undertaken by SIDS to further these aims,
and a number of case studies illustrating positive actions that
have been taken by SIDS and their outcomes.
We hope that the material presented here, together with the
other reports in this series, will stimulate thinking about how
capture fisheries can be integrated into the ‘blue growth’ agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherCommonwealth Secretariat
Number of pages62
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84859-948-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-84929-154-5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2016

Publication series

NameCommonwealth Blue Economy Series


Cite this

Fox, C., Macfadyen, G., & Cappell, R. (2016). Capture fisheries. (Commonwealth Blue Economy Series; Vol. 3). London: Commonwealth Secretariat.