The US$70 billion annual trade in international fisheries products is coming under increasing risk as the larger species are systematically removed from our oceans. Making matters worse, pollution and other human activities on the coasts are removing key spawning and nursery habitats. The serious depletion of coastal and marine fish stocks is now threatening our biodiversity and the well-being of our coastal communities.
More than 2.6 billion people depend on the oceans as their primary source of protein. Fisheries is vital in eliminating hunger, promoting health and reducing poverty. The decline of the world’s fishery resources has thus major implications for the livelihoods and well-being of coastal communities, especially in developing countries.
What We Do
The GEF promotes sustainable fishing practices and wider ecosystem stewardship both on a regional level, as well as through national investments that tie to regional commitments. Our investments support the move from exploited fisheries to more sustainable practices. At the same time, we improve management of national and shared seascapes to support the billions of people who depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Read more+
The majority of GEF investments supporting fisheries management have been through the large marine ecosystem (LME) portfolio. The Global 66 LMEs support over 85 percent of global fish catch; investment in these LMEs is thus essential to address unsustainable fishing. In most of these projects, efforts are underway to ensure fishing efforts are at sustainable levels through approaches to gear, catch levels and/or closures.
In addition to addressing fisheries through the LME projects, the GEF has initiated a program specifically on coastal fisheries, which has pilot sites in West Africa, Peru and Ecuador and Indonesia. Activities are tailored to regional needs, which range from fisheries improvement projects to marine-managed areas.
In addition, the program includes a project to promote business investments by building capacity for private-public partnerships. Knowledge sharing among the three pilot sites is also a priority. This will enable stakeholders working on coastal fisheries around the world to learn from the successes and challenges of this program and vice versa.
Finally, the GEF has invested in improved management of high seas fisheries, particularly tuna, through the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction program. Within the Western and Central Pacific (WCP) region, for example, 15 of 22 Pacific islands and territories participated in a GEF ocean management project. The project serves as a showcase for empowering small islands to engage on an even footing with larger and more politically influential countries.
In recognition of the vital role fisheries play in eliminating hunger, promoting health and reducing poverty, the GEF has promoted sustainable fishing practices and wider ecosystem stewardship both on national and regional levels. The GEF has promoted improved management of shared fishery resources, as experienced in West Africa, the Humboldt Current, Bay of Bengal, the Coral Triangle as well as in the open sea, such as the Western Central Pacific. To date, the GEF through its International Waters focal area, has invested US$160 million in coastal and marine fisheries, leveraging roughly US$1 billion in funding from other partners. Read more+
Traditional methods to catch shrimp are inefficient as fishers often end up with young fish, turtles and other by-catch. Over 60 percent of shrimp is discarded, making it among the most environmentally damaging fisheries in the world. The GEF is working to address bycatch in the Latin America and Caribbean region in shrimp and bottom trawl fisheries. Almost all participating countries have tested the use of trawl nets, which make it easier and faster for fishers to process the shrimp. In Mexico, for example, more than 140 vessels using the new methods and reported both increased quantity and quality of shrimps.
For coastal and marine fisheries projects
Additional funding leveraged from other partners