The world's marine fishery resources face critical challenges. Based on the data reported in 2018 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), an estimated 33% of global marine fish stocks have been overexploited, while a further 60% are fully exploited. During the past three decades, the fraction of fish stocks that are within biologically sustainable levels has decreased from 90% in 1974 to 67% in 2015. Loss of coastal habitats, pollution and climate change are showing negative effects on global fisheries.
Improving fisheries management and promoting sustainable fishing practices has been one of the main strategic priorities in the international waters (IW) focal area at the GEF. The most recent IW focal area study (2016) found that the largest level of support by the IW focal area is dedicated to marine fisheries, in order to promote sustainable fisheries managemnet and wider ecosystem stewardship on a regional level. However, the relevance and effectiveness of GEF's investments in fisheries management have yet to be reviewed. The purpose of this review is to present a synthesis of GEF's continuous support to global fisheries over the past three decades. The main objective is to identify good practices and lessons to inform project design and implementation.