Legal Avenues for Co-management of Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mesoamerican Reef

Small-scale fisheries (SSF) are a crucial component of international food security and the global economy. In the past few years, the international community has highlighted the importance of SSF and worked to account for their contributions in legal and regulatory frameworks. For example, the UN Sustainable Development Goals aims to recognize SSF in national laws and regulations, and the Food and Agricultural Organization’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries set out principles to promote SSF in addressing food security and poverty eradication.

The Mesoamerican Reef, home to rich biodiversity off the Caribbean coast of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, illustrates the interplay between sustainability and human needs in small-scale fisheries. Together with Rare, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has created country-specific legal framework analyses to identify ways existing laws and regulations can be leveraged to facilitate co-management of small-scale fisheries and marine protected areas in the Mesoamerican Reef region. Co-managed fisheries engage fishery resource users in building management strategies from the ground up and have been shown to be more effective than top-down management. With the policy analyses, governments at the local, national, and regional level can identify ways to use current laws and regulations and plan regulatory reform to further support co-management.

Check out the final legal framework analyses below!





Summary and Regional Comparison