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.


Coastal fishers live and work on the frontlines of climate change, which is taking a toll on both people and nature. With support from the German International Climate Initiative, Rare’s Fishing for Climate Resilience initiative works with fishing communities in the Asia Pacific region to implement nature-based solutions to climate change and build communities’ social, ecological, and economic resilience to it.

More about Fishing for Climate Resilience

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.

1M
Fishers engaged
500
Local governments committed
125,000
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.


Our Real Time Data

The global statistics below include both established and proposed managed access areas and reserves.

*Real-time program data. For more details, visit the Fish Forever program portal: https://portal.rare.org.


Evidence of Success

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

2,400
In-water surveys of coral reefs and reef fish
15,000
Surveys of individuals and households
56,000
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.

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Progress Updates

A New Leader Takes the Helm
September 15, 2021
How Local Leaders are Saving the Ocean
June 17, 2021
Milestones and Declarations for Small-Scale Fisheries
April 29, 2021

Resources