Definition and Framework

A sustainable fishery provides food to nourish people at an affordable cost. Fish harvesters, with their knowledge, legal access rights, and harvesting technologies, are central to sustainable fisheries.

Working definition:

A sustainable fishery respects the ecological integrity of the ocean and its resources; is ethical, responsibly governed, economically viable and technologically appropriate; supports local communities; draws on local culture, heritage, and diverse knowledge systems; and enhances health, wellbeing and the public good.

Framework core elements: 


  • Productivity and trophic structure
  • Biodiversity
  • Habitat and ecosystem integrity


  • Economic/financial value and viability
  • Distribution of access and benefits
  • Regional economic benefit
  • Livelihoods

Social and cultural

  • Sustainable communities
  • Health and well-being
  • Ethical fisheries


  • Obligations to law and First Nations
  • Good governance structure
  • Effective decision-making processes

Working definition & Framework core elements are taken from the Canadian Fisheries Research Network, Integrating diverse objectives for sustainable fisheries in Canada, CJFAS Feb 2018