A community-led solution to revitalize our oceans and the coastal communities that depend on them.

The Challenge

Coastal waters support some of the most spectacular and diverse environments on Earth. They sustain life and provide livelihoods for millions of people worldwide, ensuring an essential source of food and income.

Coastal overfishing is one of the greatest and most immediate threats to our oceans and the people who depend on them.

We are facing an unprecedented global decline in marine fish populations in coastal waters, driven largely by overfishing and a lack of management. This has fueled a “tragedy of the commons,” where uncontrolled fishing is damaging marine habitat, reducing fish populations, and endangering the future of coastal communities around the globe. The collapse of coastal fisheries is an environmental problem that could lead to a humanitarian crisis.

The small-scale fishing sector employs 90% of all fishers globally—providing over 50% of the world’s global catch.
The estimated value of the unreported catch from small-scale fisheries: $10.7 billion per year.

Our Solution

Fish Forever is Rare’s community-led solution to revitalize coastal marine habitats, such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses, protect biodiversity, and secure the livelihoods of fisher households and their communities.  It uses an innovative approach to address coastal overfishing—by empowering communities through clear rights, strong governance, local leadership, and participatory management—that protects essential fish habitat and regulates fishing activities.

Rare’s vision is to transform the management of coastal fisheries by pairing a proven local solution, community-based management, with a unique delivery method based on behavioral insights and social marketing principles to engage and mobilize those communities. Our work leads to more abundant marine life and healthier coastal habitats. For the communities we serve, our work helps ensure a more sustainable food supply, improved social equity, and greater resilience to external impacts—especially those related to climate change.


Our Goal

Fish Forever aims to build a movement to dramatically change the way communities protect their coastal waters, and influence the way entire nations and regions manage their fisheries.


Fishers engaged
Local governments committed
Square miles of coastal seas managed

The Rare Approach

Fish Forever works with communities and governments on four continents to:

  • Establish managed access areas that provide fishing communities clear rights to fish in certain areas
  • Create networks of fully-protected and community-led no-take marine reserves to replenish and sustain fish populations and protect critical habitat
  • Build community engagement and effective management bodies to support local decision-making
  • Enable fishers to adopt more sustainable and better-regulated fishing behaviors (e.g., become a registered fisher; record fish catch; respect fishing regulations; and participate in fisheries management)
  • Collect, disseminate and help fishing communities use data for decision-making
  • Advance coastal fishing communities’ inclusion in financial and market opportunities to increase household resilience
  • Mobilize public and private investment in coastal fisheries and marine natural resources
  • Enact policy to promote and sustain a community-based management approach
  • fisher registration id card

    Become a registered fisher

    Understanding who is fishing is a core component of managing a fishery. Registering fishers and providing fisher IDs allows us to quantify and understand who is fishing; and it can be used as a management tool to assign rights to fish in certain areas. Registration can also formalize fishing as a profession with a clear identity and highlight fishers’ roles as marine resource stewards.

Where We Work

Fish Forever operates in eight countries on four continents that together hold almost a third of the world’s coral reefs and nearly half the global coverage of mangroves, and whose coastal people are highly dependent on fish for food and income.

Evidence of Success

In 2017, Rare evaluated Fish Forever’s progress in three countries: Brazil, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The report synthesizes information from:

In-water surveys of coral reefs and reef fish
Surveys of individuals and households
Catch records from fishing trips

Our Partners

Fish Forever has developed an extensive global partnership network of over 100 organizations and institutions to make change happen. Rare focuses on building the capacities of our implementing partners to sustain this change long after Rare’s involvement ends. Our partnership network includes local and national governments, universities, NGOs and other civil society groups alongside fishers, fish buyers, fish sellers, fish traders, fisher networks, fishing communities, community leaders, indigenous communities, and the private sector.

Progress Updates

Issue #22
March 9, 2020

Experiencing Fish Forever in Indonesia – Rare’s Board of Trustees gets up close and personal with fishing households in Wakatobi National Park.

Making Ends Meet through Fishing – New socio-economic data from 15,000 household surveys showcase the urgent need to support coastal fishing households’ long-term financial resilience.

Prioritizing Mozambique’s Coastal Fisheries – District Administrators take a pledge, and Fish Forever donors the Blue Action Fund and KfW experience Fish Forever first-hand.

Embracing the Big, Uber, Super Year for Our Ocean in 2020 – by prioritizing and recognizing small-scale fisheries’ contributions to climate resilience, livelihoods, and conservation.

Launching a Public Data Portal to Track Fish Forever’s Progress and Impact – and fulfilling our commitment to accountability and transparency.

In Other News – An upcoming survey; Launching a Virtual Learning Platform through Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment; Renewing partnerships with Philippine Mayors; Signing groundbreaking regulations in Indonesia’s Southeast Sulawesi and West Papua provinces on managed access with reserves and marine spatial planning; Launching a state-wide fisheries campaign in the Federated States of Micronesia; and Letting Crabs Mate in Pará, Brazil.

Media Spotlights – TedX Cambridge Salon and NPR spotlight challenges related to coastal fishing.

The Science of Fish Forever – What We’re Reading.

Read full update

Issue #21
December 11, 2019

Marine Reserve Design: Turning Competition into Coordination – and advancing networked marine reserves in the Philippines and Indonesia

A Provincial Governor Leads Efforts for Sustainable Fisheries in Indonesia – modeling what more sustainable fisheries could look like at the provincial level

Delivering a New Vision for Fisheries in the 21st Century – and elevating small-scale fisheries’ role in delivering this vision

A Milestone for Enabling Managed Access with Reserves in Mesoamerica – identifying potential legal pathways for designating access rights and fully-protected reserves in Guatemala and Honduras

In Other News – Our Ocean 2019 recap; Inspiring change in public health; New local ordinances favor coastal fishing communities in the Philippines; A webinar and photo essay on Mozambique’s Wild Coast; Mainstreaming gender equity into Fish Forever; A Media Forum on Climate and Fisheries in the Philippines; and Fish Forever in the news.

The Science of Fish Forever – What We’re Reading

Read full update

Issue #20
September 27, 2019

Fishing Forward – An Interview with Dr. Steve Box, Fish Forever Vice President, on building networks, measuring impact, promoting transparency, and thinking bigger

Fishing for Climate Resilience in Southeast Sulawesi – Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) visits Fish Forever in Kolono Bay

From One Coast to Another – Mozambique shares more in common with Brazil than just Portuguese

OSPESCA, Rare Join Efforts to Scale Fisher Registration – the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization commits to advancing fisher registration within its member states

Training for Resilience in Mozambique – Helping Mozambican communities connect sustainable natural resource management with financial management

Functioning Coral Reefs in the Indo-Pacific Respond to Local Management – a blog by study co-author and Rare’s own, Stuart Campbell, on the recent study’s implications for coral reefs and Fish Forever

In Other News – Signing new mayor pledges and MOAs in the Philippines; Joining Brazil’s National Environmental Council; A photo essay from Philippines’ savings clubs; Continuing Fish Forever in West Papua; and Fishing for Climate Resilience in Palau and FSM.

The Science of Fish Forever – What We’re Reading

Read Full Update

Issue #19
July 24, 2019

Following the Footsteps of Southeast Sulawesi – integrating a managed access with reserves approach into five of Indonesia’s provinces

Building the Environmental and Social Resilience of Mozambique’s Coastal Fisheries – demonstrating a scalable solution that addresses three perennial challenges facing the country’s fishing sector

Visualizing Social Change in Brazil – the value of using graphic facilitation as a tool to help fishing communities understand how to create more sustainable fisheries

Deploying the Hub from Asia to Central America – trainings with Fish Forever in the Philippines, Honduras, Guatemala and Mozambique

In Other News

  • OurFish in Wakatobi Shows Increased Catch
  • Rare Featured on Philippines National Television
  • New Ordinances and Engaged Communities in the Tañon Strait
  • Brazilian governing bodies show new interest in adopting Fish Forever’s capacity building initiatives

The Science of Fish Forever – What We’re Reading

Read Full Update

Issue #18
May 30, 2019
  • Growing Blue Conference in Mozambique
  • MAR Mayor’s Summit
  • Surfacing the True Value of Honduras’ Small-Scale Fisheries
  • Fishing for Climate Resilience in Asia Pacific
  • Taking Stock of Fish Forever in Brazil
  • In Other News:
    • Mozambique cyclones in coastal communities
    • Broadening use of Village Funds in Indonesia
    • A webinar on behavior change for the oceans
    • A story about Zulma’s loan in Honduras
    • The Fishing for Resilience project bootcamp
    • A marine mammal survey in the Philippines.
  • The Science of Fish Forever

Read full update

Issue #17
March 29, 2019
  • To Ensure Vibrant Oceans, Filipino Mayors Champion a Local Approach
  • The Fish Forever Hub Casts a Wide Net
  • A Conversation with Diana Vasquez, Fish Forever MAR Director
  • Fishing for Climate Resilience in Asia Pacific
  • In Other News:
    • Launching Brazil’s campaigns for mud crab, RESEX, and enhanced fisheries management
    • Indonesia’s Southeast Sulawesi province invests in coastal fishers
    • Fish Forever receives €1 million from Dutch Postcode Lottery
    • Rare launches new and improved website
  • The Science of Fish Forever

Read full update

Issue #16
January 28, 2019
  • Advancing climate change adaptation, sustainable financing, and national adoption of managed access for small-scale fishers in the Philippines’ coastal fisheries sector
  • Rare at the UN Biodiversity Conference
  • The Government of Sweden and Rare co-host a dialogue on SSF at the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference
  • Raising the bar on nature-based solutions in NDCs
  • Major Milestones Reached for Managed Access in Indonesia
  • Interview with Dr. Bob Pomeroy


Issue #15
November 14, 2018
  • Moments, Momentum, and a Movement for Small-Scale Fisheries
  • Interview with Angelica Dengo, VP for Fish Forever in Mozambique
  • Rare and BAPPENAS: The Road to 2020
  • Empathy Meets Cold Storage: Two Designs for Extreme Affordability
  • Using Forensics, Tech to Improve Coastal Fisheries Management

read full update

Issue #14
September 6, 2018
  • The Network Effect: Designing Marine Reserves for Ecological Connectivity at Scale
  • Thoughts from Reserve Design Rockstar (and Larval Dispersal Mapping Guy), Dr. Eric A. Treml
  • Rare at COFI33
  • Rare Connects Fish Forever Approach to the Mesoamerican Reef
  • Interview with Fish Forever Brazil Vice President, Monique Barreto Galvão
  • New Fish Forever Campaigns Launched in Brazil’s Northern States

read full update

Issue #13
May 28, 2018
  • Herbivorous fish drive biomass increases in the Philippines and Indonesia
  • Shifting practices, customs and beliefs: Women as fisheries management decision-makers in Wakatobi National Park
  • OurFish configured for Mozambique
  • Critical milestones for marine tenure in West Papua
  • The Science of Fish Forever – What We’re Reading


Read Full Update

Issue #12
February 5, 2018
  • Networking Community-based Fisheries
  • Mozambique Ministry Approves Regulations for Fishing Rights and Licensing
  • Indigenous Rights and Contemporary Fisheries Management in Indonesia
  • Introducing a Municipal Fisheries Network Model to Mesoamerica
  • The Science of Fish Forever

Read full update

Issue #11
December 1, 2017
  • ‘Saving Brazil’s Mangroves’: A Partnership for Climate Resilience
  • Financing the Future of Small-Scale Fisheries: Advancing the Our Ocean 2017 Conversation
  • Designing Coastal Fisheries Management in Mozambique
  • Testing OurFish in Brazil
  • Building Social and Economic Capital with Savings Clubs: Over $100,000 and Counting
  • Learning from Japan’s Small-Scale Fishers
  • Strengthening Europe’s Behavioral Insights Community of Practice: The Stockholm Summit


Read full update