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.
Small-scale fishers depend on what they catch: 90% of their catch goes toward local human consumption.
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
Countries worldwide

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
  • Enact policy and unlock financing to promote and sustain this community-based management approach

Where We Work

Fish Forever operates in ten countries on four continents that together hold 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.

Explore our work with this interactive map

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, fisher networks, fishing communities, community leaders, indigenous communities, and the private sector.

Progress Updates

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


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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

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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