Community-based fisheries management (CBFM)

Empowering coastal fishing communities to control their marine resources and improve resilience, food security and livelihoods

The Pacific islands are home to thousands of coastal communities, many of which depend on their marine resources for livelihoods, cultural significance, and well-being. They are custodians of our ocean resources. Ensuring that these fisheries are sustainably managed to provide food security, long-term economic, social and ecological benefits, is behind Community-Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) approaches.

Youth group during management planning workshop in north Tarawa.

Coastal fisheries resources are declining through overfishing with degradation of coastal ecosystems. Poor water or land management, logging, unsustainable coastal development, and mining are some of the other threats outside the fisheries sector. These threats are further exacerbated by external shocks such as climate change, natural disasters, and pandemics.

Due to the distant locations of some communities, existing CBFM approaches, and the fact that different communities have different needs, a strategic scaling up approach is required to balance the available resourcing with provision of adequate levels of support for different communities.Within these communities there exists a wealth of local knowledge which is at the heart of CBFM as this approach needs to be nationally and regionally relevant.

The aim of the up scaling CBFM approach is to:

  • support and empower coastal communities to drive local management regimes
  • improve resilience through integrated and ecosystem management
  • support the development of realistic and appropriate alternative livelihoods that support management
  • assist governments in creating better conditions for communities to manage their resources 

Our CBFM team works closely with the coastal fisheries science team to ensure that the best evidence-based management advice is provided to members and partners. We support our members’ coastal fisheries through activities which include:

  • reviewing and drafting policies
  • management plans
  • laws and regulations
  • MCS capacity building
  • CBFM training
  • alternative livelihood development 
Echoes of Oceania banner and image of woman with fishing gear on a beach.






Echoes of Oceania is a web portal that serves as a regional e-platform for CBFM in the Pacific. It aims to:

  • provide relevant information to assist communities, governments and other CBFM practitioners in making informed decisions about the management of their coastal resources;
  • raise the profile and understanding of CBFM within the region;
  • enhance capacity on establishing and implementing CBFM.

Access Echoes of Oceania here.


Further reading

Pacific Community 2021. Pacific Framework for Action on Scaling up Community-based Fisheries Management: 2021-2025. Noumea, New Caledonia: Pacific Community.

Lalavanua W., Govan H., Steenbergen D. 2021. Scaling-up community-based fisheries management in the Pacific: Key outcomes of subregional workshops. SPC Fisheries Newsletter 165:18–22.

Govan, H., Lalavanua, W., 2022. Status of community-based fisheries management in Pacific Islands countries and territories: survey report. Pacific Community. 

O’Connor S., D'Andrea A., Recio-Blanco X., Devez S. 2023. Legal guide to enabling and strengthening coastal fisheries co-management in the Pacific. Noumea, New Caledonia: Pacific Community. 212 p.