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Securing the Livelihoods and Nutritional Needs of Fish-Dependent Communities

The Rockefeller Foundation marks its 100th year in 2013. The Foundation’s mission, unchanged since 1913, is to promote the well-being of humankind throughout the world. During the course of its history, the Foundation has supported the ingenuity of innovative thinkers and actors by providing the resources, networks, convening power, and technologies to move innovation from idea to impact. It supports work that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health, and environmental challenges. The Foundation seeks to achieve its mission through work aimed at meeting four equally important goals: revalue ecosystems, advance health, secure livelihoods, and transform cities.

Starting in June 2012, the Rockefeller Foundation began investigating the pressing problem of the declining health of the oceans due to climate change, overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction, and the effects of this decline on poor and vulnerable people who depend on marine ecosystems for food and livelihoods. The goal was to better understand the nature of the problem and the potential impact of interventions in the fields of fisheries, aquaculture, poverty, and food security.

The Foundation assembled a portfolio of learning grants that examined this problem from multiple perspectives in order to inform and assess the viability of and potential impact for future engagement on this topic. We supported four scoping studies that sought to identify populations dependent on marine fisheries, as well as review past experience with integrated approaches to fisheries management within a livelihoods and food security context. In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, we also supported scoping work in four countries to assess opportunities for a coordinated strategy integrating national policy, local management, and innovative financing.

We have learned a tremendous amount from the work our grantees have done, captured here by partner FSG in a summary and synthesis. We hope this information will contribute to the broader body of knowledge on this topic, as well as our own work.