1. FFI Australia
  2. FFI US
  3. Conservation Circle

How we work: safeguarding species, habitats and livelihoods

Coral reef. Credit: J A Bruson/FFI.
Written by: Nicola Frost
Other posts by Nicola Frost

At the heart of Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) marine programme is our work to safeguard marine species, habitats and livelihoods through effective protection and management of marine ecosystems.

To achieve this, we work to:

  • Create and maintain effectively-managed marine protected areas
  • Improve the sustainability of small-scale fisheries
  • Conserve marine species

Creating and maintaining effectively-managed marine protected areas

Marine protected areas can be extremely effective in sheltering species and habitats from threats, and can provide a refuge for commercially-valuable species during vulnerable stages in their life-cycle (such as spawning). When appropriately placed and well-managed, marine life within protected area boundaries can quickly recover and spill over into adjacent areas, benefiting fishing and tourism industries.

In 2005, as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, global leaders committed to conserving 10% of the world’s marine and coastal areas through a network of marine protected areas; however progress has been slow. Only 2.5% of the world’s oceans and coastal areas are currently protected, and there is an urgent need to increase this figure.

In addition to creating new marine protected areas, FFI believes that it is crucial to increase the effectiveness of existing ones by tackling issues such as weak governance and enforcement, funding insecurity, infrastructure and maintenance shortcomings, and poor communication.

Spatial planning for an MPA in Kenya. Credit: J A Bruson/FFI.

Local stakeholders have a vital role to play in sustainable marine management. Credit: J A Bruson/FFI.

FFI’s projects pay particular attention to enhancing the role of local stakeholders in the governance of marine protected areas. By creating solutions that respect their rights and take account of their interests, people are able to play a more active role in decision-making and share in the benefits that marine protected areas can bring.

Our work in action:

Improving the sustainability of small-scale fisheries

Small-scale fisheries are an important (but often underrated) source of employment, food security and income, particularly in developing countries and rural areas. However, if not well managed, small-scale fisheries can also contribute to the declining health of marine ecosystems through overfishing and habitat damage.

Small-scale fisheries. Credit: J A Bruson/FFI.

Over 500 million people depend directly or indirectly on small-scale fisheries for protein and income. Credit: J A Bruson/FFI.

FFI believes that reducing the negative impacts of small-scale fisheries is critical to both the health of marine ecosystems and the well-being of the people who depend on them, and that the key to success lies in finding solutions that empower local stakeholders to manage their marine resources sustainably.

Our work in action:

Conserving marine species

Our marine environment is important to us, not just for the income, food and other ecosystem services it provides, but for our cultural and emotional wellbeing too. However healthy seas depend on healthy ecosystems and the myriad species that keep them in balance.

Turtle hatchlings. Credit: FFI.

In 2012 alone, FFI's projects helped around 1.4 million turtle hatchlings reach the sea. Credit: FFI.

Sadly, extinctions are occurring at an unprecedented rate – particularly in areas with high human population density, such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean – and there is an urgent need to protect species before they are lost forever.

For this reason, FFI maintains a focus on conserving target species as a fundamental part of its marine programme. This work ranges from monitoring species to find out how they are faring to working with communities to deepen our mutual understanding of a species and its values whilst also raising awareness. Often, this work is combined with efforts to secure the species’ habitat without which it cannot survive.

Our work in action:

Written by
Nicola Frost

Nicola joined Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in July 2011 to help develop our global marine work and identify new activity areas and funding streams. As Head of Marine, Nicola provides technical input on marine projects in all regions, and supports knowledge exchange and communication between FFI’s marine projects. Nicola is a marine scientist, with a background in coral reef research, management and education. She has worked with governments, NGOs, and communities in over 18 countries to support the design and implementation of habitat assessments, participatory planning for locally managed marine areas, training for marine protected area managers, and livelihood diversification and enhancement processes. Nicola has published a range of toolkits and reports about tropical marine ecosystem management and emerging ocean issues.

Other posts by Nicola Frost
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales, Registered Company Number 2677068. Registered Charity Number 1011102
Fauna & Flora International Australia (Ltd) is a company limited by guarantee, and recognised as a Charitable Institution (ABN 75 132 715 783, ACN 132715783)
Fauna & Flora International Inc. is a Not for Profit Organisation in the State of Massachusetts. It is tax exempt (EIN #04-2730954) and has 501(c) (3) status
Fauna & Flora International Singapore is a public company limited by guarantee, Registration Number 201133836K. Registered charity under the Singapore Charities Act