Common pool resources (CPR), such as fisheries, underpin the livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries and generate both direct and indirect benefits on a range of different scales. Sustaining and improving fisheries dependent livelihoods in the future depends upon effective fisheries management. However, fisheries, in common with other natural CPR can be difficult to manage effectively. CPR features such as ?subtractability? and ?excludability?, need to be incorporated carefully within the design of fisheries policy and management systems. The ?weak state? (weak governance, limited institutions and legal systems) context of developing countries further complicates this process. The present need is to enhance the available information on CPR issues for fisheries using the findings from the FMSP, and to communicate this to policy-makers in developing countries in an appropriate manner in order to generate further benefits for poverty reduction.


Through the review and analysis of 18 FMSP projects (Clusters 2 and 7), from different parts of the world, the major CPR issues were identified and synthesized into a series of key lessons and best practice guidelines for fisheries management. In many countries, the fisheries sector has extensive interaction with other sectors, and in this respect broad-based approaches to natural resource management (e.g. coastal zone management, river basin management) have been attempted (with varying degrees of success). However, this review focused specifically on fisheries management, dealing with a range of difficult problems (e.g. open access, institutional strengthening) as a contribution to the overall task of managing the multi-sectoral environment. Improved fisheries management systems will make an important contribution to inter-sectoral management in the future, for example, one of the recognised weaknesses of coastal zone management has been a failure to deal with open access conditions in fisheries.


The review determined that a considerable bank of new CPR-related knowledge has been generated by the FMSP and an important part of the new knowledge concerns the relationship of CPR /Fisheries to the poor and factors affecting livelihoods and poverty status (e.g. The role of local institutions and access rights for poor people).

The main contribution of the FMSP projects concerns understanding of CPR with respect to: (a) existing management arrangements and their function for the poor; (b) constraints to implementing better management (national and local, formal and informal structures); (c) optimal management arrangements for discrete components of the CPR /Fishery (e.g. Fish stocks, water management structures in inland areas); (d) desirable formal arrangements for monitoring and processing information.

Additional findings (detailed in the FTR) were used as a basis on which to develop a series of four Key Sheets set within the broader context of fisheries management and CPR issues with the following titles:

- No. 1: The Importance of Fisheries to the Poor in Developing Countries;

- No. 2: Factors which affect CPR Management Performance in Developing Countries: Key Lessons;

- No. 3: Approaches to Improving CPR Management Performance in Developing Countries: Best Practice;

- No. 4: Future Research Priorities for CPR (Fisheries) Management in Developing Countries;

The Key Sheet Series was used to further develop and summarise the findings of the Synthesis Report and to set them explicitly within the context of CPR / Fisheries Management.

These two main outputs were made available through two websites (FMSP and FAO/OneFish). In addition targeted e-mails and mail-shots have distributed the outputs to over 100 fisheries policy-makers and their advisers in 20 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia (in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese)