Thoughtfully designed fisheries law and policies, along with well-functioning governance systems are foundational for effective fisheries management. The ability for such systems to regularly monitor social, ecological and economic conditions, integrate new information, and adapt according to shifting needs has become increasingly important in the context of building resilience in the face of climate change and other shocks.

EDF has a suite of tools and resources to help you examine local governance and management systems within your fishery. Our decision support tools can assist you in evaluating strengths and weaknesses in the governance systems or within existing management approaches, and can assist you in prioritizing opportunities for intervention.

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In some cases, efforts to improve a fishery management system are constrained by factors related to how management institutions (government agencies or fishery cooperatives) are structured and how they operate. These factors are sometimes challenging to identify and understand. We refer to all of the processes that are used by institutions to control human activities such as fishing as “governance.”

Governance consists of the institutions, processes, roles, responsibilities and resources that collectively determine how societal goals are met. Policy consists of laws, treaties, regulations and other instruments that create and limit the power of institutions to achieve objectives, including by defining processes and establishing rights. Strong and well-designed fisheries law and policy and an effective governance system are critical components for ensuring the durability of a sustainable and effective fisheries management system.

Learn more about effective fishery governance