Fisheries and Aquaculture

Fisheries and Aquaculture


Harvesting quahogs in the waters off Rhode Island. (RI Sea Grant)
Fishing boats return to Galilee Harbor in Narragansett, R.I. (credit: RI Sea Grant)
An oyster harvester in The Gambia (TRY Oyster Women’s Association)
An oyster harvester in The Gambia (credit: TRY Oyster Women’s Association)

CRC works to develop innovative methods of research, extension and outreach to sustainably manage valuable fisheries and aquaculture resources in Rhode Island, the United States and around the globe. CRC is recognized for taking an integrated approach that considers the entire fishery system—from management of sustainable harvests and early engagement of local stakeholders to added value for the supply chain and end users.

This approach includes improved governance solutions, ecosystem-based management, capacity development and collaborative and adaptive management plans. Through its position within the URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography and its partnerships with the College of the Environment and Life Sciences and other university entities, CRC is able to call on a wealth of knowledge from world-class researchers to bring the best-available science to its work, applying a learning-by-doing approach that affords rapid responses to changing realities.

As the world’s burgeoning population turns to the sea for food security, many nations aquaculture—farming of seafood, pearls, ornamentals and plants—to supplement wild catch. When developed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, aquaculture can provide food, employment and income. If not developed properly, aquaculture can negatively impact critical coastal ecosystems and pose risks to human health. For three decades, CRC has been assisting governments and industry in nations around the world to develop responsible aquaculture through best management practices, private partnerships, public zoning and regulations.

CRC’s approach emphasizes responsible coastal management and sound environmental planning to minimize user conflicts and environmental impacts. It engages policymakers, aquaculture associations, fishing communities and civil society.

Our guiding principles: Fisheries

  • Through decades of experience and lessons learned, CRC has developed these guidelines regarding sustainable fisheries:
  • Ground the conception, execution and management of programs on sound science
  • Create inherently flexible management plans for adaptation to complex and constantly evolving needs
  • Create results-oriented programs, describing how impacts will be measured and monitored
  • Conduct monitoring and reporting in a timely manner so that responsive action can be taken
  • Involve both harvest and post-harvest segments of the industry in management and decision making
  • Promote ecosystem resilience for goods and services that conserve biodiversity
  • Promote marketing of sustainably sourced, socially responsible and high quality seafood products
  • Where appropriate, help fisheries transition from open-access and combine managed access, alternative livelihoods, collaborative management and rights-based approaches for lasting success
  • Promote engagement of all stakeholders
  • Promote social responsibility and equity as key objectives, including fair labor practices, fair prices and safe working conditions
  • Develop and adopt codes of conduct and best management practices

Our guiding principles: Sustainable aquaculture

  • Conduct feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment and financial analysis at the individual operation and ecosystem level prior to establishing and expanding a new project or testing new species production
  • Properly site the operation to reduce environmental, natural hazard and social impacts
  • Identify and protect key ecosystems that need to be conserved to ensure resource sustainability—a fundamental tool of land use management
  • Following best management practices while maintaining a sound and healthy ecosystem to achieve long-term sustainability
  • Consider potential off-site impacts of aquaculture siting, construction, and production and mitigate by maintaining adequate buffer zones and the natural environment surrounding the site as much as possible
  • Pay attention to capacity building of institutions and coordination of agencies responsible for enforcing regulations, permitting and licensing
  • Work to streamline government policy where there are overlapping, duplicative or outdated regulations and unclear agency responsibilities
  • Use practical exercises and demonstrations as well as extension services to promote best practices
  • Develop operational guides and extension materials to make information readily accessible and improve knowledge for the people who most need it
  • Apply technology that is appropriate to the knowledge, experience and capacity of producers and the local context
  • Ensure that the aquaculture industry is integrated into public decision-making processes at all levels so as to minimize undue burdens from cumbersome permitting and licensing requirements
  • Educate the wider public about the practices of aquaculture to dispel myths and help ease and minimize use conflicts
  • Facilitate dialogue with the aquaculture industry, lawmakers and other stakeholders to prioritize science needs, monitoring and best practices for all elements of the aquaculture value chain



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  • Pilot of Economic Safety Net Scheme for the Marine Artisanal Fisheries Sector: Methodologies, Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Future Action Babanawo, R., Kent, K., Owusu, D., Crawford, B. 31 March 2021

    The purpose of this methodological guide is to document step by step approaches, procedures and processes for the design and implementation of Economic Safety Net interventions targeting vulnerable fisheries dependent households in Ghana based on the experience of the SFMP COVID-19 response pilot Economic Safety Net Scheme. The document also highlights the lessons learned along with the actual or recommended adjustments made to the SFMP piloted methodologies. It provides detailed guidance on the design and implementation of methodologies that: ---Ensure effective targeting, implementation, and monitoring of Economic Safety Net assistance to fisheries households. ---Define the roles and responsibilities of various partners and stakeholders. ---Establish a financial management framework as well as administrative procedures for the cash transfer programming. The Guide also reflects on the potential application of Economic Safety Net Schemes as a component of sustainable fisheries management measures such as closed seasons where vulnerable fisheries dependent households may experience economic hardship as a result of management efforts to rebuild depleted fish stocks.

  • USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project Lessons Learned Event Labik, P. 30 March 2021

    On March 30, 2021, the USAID/Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) held a lessons-learned event as part of final project close out activities. The three-hour event highlighted seven years of the project’s interventions, challenges, lessons learned which provide valuable inputs for future programing within the fisheries sector in Ghana. In attendance were various stakeholders, officials from USAID, the US Embassy, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Fisheries Commission, the Academia including University of Rhode Island, the parent institution of the SFMP.

  • Co-Management Regional Stakeholder Engagement Report Boateng, K. 1 March 2021

    As part of the implementation arrangements of the Co-Management Policy the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission jointly held series of regional stakeholder engagements across the four coastal regions of Ghana in February and March 2021 with the support of USAID/Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project. About 150 participants made up of fisheries officers from the MOFAD/FC, officials from Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs), traditional rulers, chief fishermen, canoe owners, and fish processors, representatives of the various fisheries associations including National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG) and the Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association (GITA) were engaged in discussions on how to sustain Ghana’s fisheries resources through adoption of the National Fisheries Co-Management Policy. The purpose of the stakeholder engagement was to share the content of the National Fisheries Co-Management Policy and discuss the implementation arrangements with all key stakeholders.

  • SFMP Progress Report. January 1 to March 31, 2021 Coastal Resources Center 31 March 2021

    This progress report details activities, results, and lessons learned during the second quarter of Project Year 7 (FY21) including the additional COVID-19 related activities. It also explains how partners contributed to the achievement of targets and how these achievements will be sustained to meet the overarching goal of SFMP. No further activities took place after this report except project close-out.

  • Final Report on the Pilot of Livelihood Approaches in Fishing Communities Eshun, A. E. 1 March 2021

    In partnership with local implementing partners Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA) and Development Action Association (DAA), SFMP engaged potential stakeholders and developed a livelihoods strategy targeting out-of-school youth ages (18 -35 years) to guide the implementation of the livelihoods interventions. This strategy focused on identifying desirable and marketable non-fisheries livelihoods utilizing locally available resources. Based on focus group discussions and key informant interviews with youth representatives from DAA, CEWEFIA and the fisheries apex organizations Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) and National Fish Processors and Traders Association (NAFPTA), SFMP selected three livelihoods to support: production of handwashing soap, baking of confections, and installation and repairs of digital television and air conditioning.