Fishing boats in Belize

Thousands of commercial and recreational fisheries exist worldwide, representing an important component of many countries' economies and supporting billions of people around the world who rely on healthy oceans for food and income. Yet the health and status of most fish stocks remain unknown due to the high cost and complex nature of stock assessments. Stock and ecosystem assessment information is vital as it informs important decisions on how fisheries are managed, impacting species’ ability to recover, fishermen’s ability to make a living and the availability of fish which billions of people around the world rely on as a source of protein and nutrients. As climate change alters the ecosystems in which fisheries operate and changes the distribution and abundance of fish stocks, these assessments become even more important to safeguarding the sustainability of fisheries and the wellbeing of coastal communities, now and into the future.

The Framework for Integrated Stock and Habitat Evaluation (FISHE) equips fishery managers with a low-cost and highly effective resource to help with the assessment and sustainable management of fisheries, even in the face of climate change. Based on the guide Science-Based Management of Data-Limited Fisheries, FISHE is particularly suitable for use in data-limited fisheries. FISHE helps users figure out what to do in order to improve the performance of a fishery. It guides users through a step-by-step framework so they can: articulate clear goals, choose appropriate indicators, targets, and limits; assess ecosystem and stock status (or risk) using available data and local knowledge; create harvest control rules to maintain sustainable yields; choose appropriate harvest control measures to achieve fishery goals and targets; and project future conditions and adapt accordingly. The downloadable Workbook contains all the tools and resources needed to move through the steps of this process. The outputs of FISHE can be combined to result in a comprehensive adaptive fishery management plan. Ultimately, FISHE meets a fishery where it is and helps to guide a collaborative stakeholder-driven process of bringing science to action, combining both local expert knowledge with empirical data, to inform sustainable, resilient management.

To learn more about this and other fishery management tools, visit