Freshwater, Fish and the Future: Proceedings of the Global Cross-Sectoral Conference

From Ideas to Action: Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries that Support Livelihoods, Food Security, and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Steven J. Cooke, Devin M. Bartley, T. Douglas Beard, Ian G. Cowx, Chris I. Goddard, Carlos Fuentevilla, Nancy J. Leonard, Abigail J. Lynch, Kai Lorenzen and William W. Taylor

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9789251092637.ch31

Abstract .—For decades, inland fisheries and their value have been overshadowed by marine fisheries dominated by the commercial sector. However, there is growing recognition that inland capture fisheries harvest is substantial. Indeed, inland fisheries generate many ecosystem services, most notably their contributions to food security and livelihoods. Here, we present the outcomes of a conference where scientists, resource managers, policymakers, and community representatives from across the globe gathered to discuss inland fisheries. What emerged from discussions at the conference is affectionately termed “The Rome Declaration,” which provides a forward-looking call to action characterized by 10 recommendations: (1) improve the assessment of biological production to enable science-based management, (2) correctly value inland aquatic ecosystems, (3) promote the nutritional value of inland fisheries, (4) develop and improve science-based approaches to fishery management, (5) improve communication among freshwater users, (6) improve governance, especially for shared water bodies, (7) develop collaborative approaches to cross-sectoral integration in development agendas, (8) respect equity and rights of stakeholders, (9) make aquaculture an important ally, and (10) develop an action plan for global inland fisheries. We trust that the outcomes from this conference (including “The Rome Declaration”) will serve as a catalyst for sustained action by the global inland fisheries community to ensure that fish and fisheries are accounted for and incorporated into broader water-resource management discussions and frameworks.