Management of impacts of irrigation developments on fisheries: guidance manual


This manual has been prepared to aid the assessment and management of impacts of irrigation development on fisheries, with a focus on developing countries. Fisheries produce food from the exploitation of natural populations of fish and other aquatic organisms. They are dependent more on the functioning of natural ecosystems than on other food production systems. At the same time, they are important to the food security and livelihoods of many rural people in developing countries - a fact that has only recently been fully recognized. Fisheries therefore link environmental and food security concerns in a unique way.

Irrigation development aims to increase food (or non-food crop production) and to improve rural incomes, employment and food security, but can carry environmental costs. These aspects of irrigation development are assessed in planning, and a variety of guidelines exist to aid the process. Why then are new guidelines for assessing and managing impacts on fisheries needed? Because existing guidelines, which treat fisheries as a fringe aspect of ecological or livelihoods assessment, fail to give an integrated and balanced perspective on the nature of fisheries and the impacts upon them. Treating fisheries simply as an aspect of either biodiversity or livelihood impact assessment can easily result in crucial aspects and tradeoffs being missed or misrepresented. Managing impacts of irrigation on fisheries is a task that requires the participation of a wide range of stakeholders and an interdisciplinary approach. Hence impact assessment and management should be carried out in a participatory manner by multidisciplinary teams. This manual aims to aid such assessment by providing a knowledge base on key issues likely to be encountered, tools for participatory assessment and a guide to specialist literature. The manual is designed to serve as a stand-alone guide for assessments involving small and medium-sized irrigation developments. Its integrated perspective and guide to specialist literature should make it a useful starting point even for large projects that require more detailed assessment. It is hoped that the manual will act as a catalyst for improved integration of fisheries concerns in water resource management, for more holistic assessment and management of irrigation development impacts. Hopefully, it will increase involvement of all water users in natural resource management decision making and the ownership of resulting outcomes.


Lorenzen, K.; Smith, L.; Sophie Nguyen Khoa; Burton, M.; Garaway, C. Management of impacts of irrigation developments on fisheries: guidance manual. (2007) 174 pp.

Management of impacts of irrigation developments on fisheries: guidance manual

Published 1 January 2007