The purpose of the project was to provide fisheries policy-makers and their advisers (e.g. research organisations) with new knowledge on the management of Common Pool Resources (CPR) which help to underpin the livelihoods of thousands of poor people in Developing Countries. CPR and the associated benefits to poor people are increasingly under threat from a lack of effective management and an inability to cope with a wide range of threats including increased exploitation (and overexploitation), commercialisation (which favours particular groups e.g. international consumers), and privatisation (which limits access to a few individuals or groups in situations where more flexible access and use rights to a larger group prevailed in the past). 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. Clearly 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, the current project focuses 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. There can be no doubt that improved fisheries management systems will make an important contribution to inter-sectoral management in the future (e.g. one of the recognised weaknesses of coastal zone management has been a failure to deal with open access conditions in fisheries). The main outputs of the project included a synthesis report and a series of four Key Sheets, which 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). By helping to underpin the future development of fisheries policy and the design and implementation of fisheries management in Developing Countries, by providing a better understanding of the issues involved, this research will ensure that the value and contribution of CPR for livelihoods and poverty reduction is recognised and sustained. In certain countries, improved CPR / fisheries management will also help to increase the flow of benefits to the stakeholders involved, and reduce their vulnerability to poverty. It can be argued that the design and implementation of appropriate and effective fisheries management systems should be given the highest priority in this sector. The knowledge generated by the current project will contribute to the work of policy-makers in addressing the CPR issues involved including setting policy objectives, managing institutional development and building capacity. While the knowledge dissemination and promotional activities of the project can be assessed in terms of the contacts (numbers, distribution) made with policy-makers and their advisers during the course of the project, the real impact of the project will be measured in the future (post-project) by the extent to which CPR issues have been incorporated into new policy approaches and processes for fisheries management in developing countries (often a slow process), leading to sustainable benefits for development from fisheries resource exploitation. This task should be taken up by the follow-on activities of a new RNRRS facility.
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