Small-scale fisheries provide food security, livelihoods and income to millions of people but their management still presents a challenge to managers and other stakeholders due to problems in gathering suitable information and its incorporation in fisheries policy. Fishers are a key source of knowledge for assessment of both extractive capacity and value in small-scale fisheries, in addition to providing a broad array of cultural knowledge. However, they have often been excluded from processes of data collection, analysis, interpretation and management. The increasing recognition of the value of incorporating traditional fishing knowledge in freshwater, riverine, lacustrine and coastal and marine fisheries management is now evident in international conventions and published literature. The purpose of these Guidelines is to make it easier for users to recognise and include fishers’ knowledge as an important data stream in resource management. We present details on the breadth of knowledge that can be gathered, how it can be gathered, and how this information can be applied to support sustainable fisheries policy and broader applications in society. These are voluntary guidelines that are intended to be used by fisheries resource managers at the local, regional and national levels; by communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and researchers. Key messages: 1. Fishers’ knowledge can provide valuable information to apply in support of assessments of extractive capacity and value in small scale fisheries, in addition to providing a broad array of cultural knowledge. 2. Fishers’ knowledge is defined in these guidelines as: “The cumulative body of knowledge, practice and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another, their environment and specifically fisheries resources. In the f ishing context it includes contribution to societal living; the types of species caught and not caught – why and when; the methods of fishing; and knowledge of species and seasons. This knowledge may be manifested in myths and legends and in folk taxonomics.” 3. The Guidelines are intended to make it easier for users to recognise and include Fishers’ knowledge as an important data stream in resource management in small scale fisheries, by presenting details on the breadth of knowledge that can be gathered, how it can be gathered, and how this information can be applied to support sustainable fisheries policy and broader applications in society today. 4. The Guidelines are intended to: a. Promote the recognition, gathering and recording of a baseline of fishers’ knowledge. b. Value, recognise and encourage the transfer and preservation of this knowledge. c. Involve fishers in enhancing and applying this knowledge in the modern context in one of five ‘applied use’ categories: i. Fisheries policy; ii. Supporting IUCN Species and Ecosystem Red Listing; iii. Co-management; iv. Enhancing transmission and perpetuation of knowledge (books / film) and /or v. Genetic utilization of biodiversity resource – a Nagoya Protocol use. 5. These Guidelines support the achievement of international conventions including the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) (CBD) Aichi Targets and particularly Targets 6 and 18; and Goals 2 and 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals; the UN Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries and related instruments.
Cowie, W., Al Dhaheri, S., Al Hashmi, A., Solis–Rivera, V., Baigun, C., Chang, K., Cooney, R., Kamaka‘ala, S., Lindeman, K., Louwa, C., Roe, D., Walker–Painemilla, K., Al Baharna, R., Al Ameri, M., Al Hameli, S., Al Jaberi, K., Alzahlawi, N, Binkulaib, R., Al Kharusi, Y. (2020). IUCN Guidelines for gathering of fishers’ knowledge for policy development and applied use. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland; and Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.