Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM)

Fisheries face many threats and issues that reduce their potential to contribute to sustainable development. In the past, fisheries management has taken a single species approach, which has succeeded most often in temperate countries with existing good governance and compliance. Effective fisheries management has always been a challenge in the complex multi-species, multi-gear fisheries of the Asia-Pacific region; however, as many of the region’s coastal fisheries have declined, the need for more effective and equitable management has become increasingly evident.

An Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) is an integrated management approach across coastal and marine areas and their natural resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use of the whole ecosystem.

What is USAID Oceans’ Approach?

USAID Oceans uses the EAFM, which shifts away from the single-species fisheries management approach of the past and towards an approach that seeks to balance ecological and human well-being priorities through effective fisheries governance. EAFM is a practical way to achieve sustainable development while maximizing the ecosystem benefits of a fishery. EAFM also addresses non-target species, endangered species, minimizing waste and pollution, biodiversity, and welfare of coastal states involved, including the interests of artisanal or small-scale fisheries and subsistence fishers.

USAID Oceans encourages program partners to practice sustainable fisheries planning and management that is linked to catch documentation and traceability and human welfare objectives. To achieve these goals, USAID Oceans supports:

  • Improved fisheries management through sustainable fisheries plans, focusing on the ASEAN and the Coral Triangle Initiative member countries;
  • Data driven fisheries management; and
  • Capacity building.

What has USAID Oceans Achieved?

USAID Oceans has provided support to regional, national and local partners to further sustainable fisheries management planning. Working in tandem with the program’s eCDT, partnerships and human welfare activities, USAID Oceans has worked to implement EAFM activities that support traceability objectives and are inclusive of human welfare concerns including labor conditions, worker rights and gender equity. USAID Oceans has:

  • Together with program partners SEAFDEC, CTI-CFF and national fisheries agencies, developed a sub-regional EAFM plan for the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas, as well as framework plan for Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand;
  • Conducted Rapid Appraisals for Fisheries Management and subsequently developed Sustainable Fisheries Management Plans for adoption in program learning sites that link with broader national management plans;
  • Increased the capacity of national fisheries agencies to conduct Rapid Appraisals for Fisheries Management and develop EAFM-based Sustainable Fisheries Management Plans;
  • Created a dialogue for linking learning site catch documentation and traceability systems with national fisheries information systems to support data-driven sustainable fisheries management; and
  • Documented USAID Oceans’ learning site experiences to develop new EAFM training modules that include guidance for Catch Documentation and Traceability System design and development processes, as well as best practices for integrating gender equality and human welfare objectives throughout CDT and EAFM initiatives.

Additional Resources