Opportunities for the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030)
The review presents the strong business case for inland food fisheries in developing countries to be either a co-benefit, or very often the main benefit, of ecosystem restoration. In view of the current state of inland water aquatic habitats the potential for restoration is high. Realizing this potential requires concerted action to overcome current challenges, foremost of which is the invisibility of inland fisheries in many policy arenas as well as technical and scientific fora.
The drivers of ecosystem degradation, ecosystem services valuation frameworks and the main technical tools for implementing interventions are presented. Experiences in developed countries dominate the literature but are not necessarily applicable to developing country inland food fisheries. Local communities that have high dependency on inland fisheries and live in close association with inland water fisheries habitats not only provide much higher fisheries values but a management asset that is unavailable in developed countries and the mainstay of many successful restoration programmes.
Ten case studies, representing effective restoration of food fisheries from local to basin scale are used to illustrate what can be achieved. The prospects of inland fisheries benefiting from, or contributing to, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) are good but upscaling the existing progress will require increased and sustained efforts to mainstream the values of inland fisheries including their co-benefits for biodiversity conservation.