The Asia-Pacific region is home to a diversity of coastal cultures that are highly reliant on the ocean and its resources for sustenance, livelihoods, and cultural continuity. Small-scale fisheries account for most of the livelihoods associated with fisheries, produce about as much fish as industrialized fisheries, and contribute substantially to the economies of countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet these resource systems and their human communities face numerous local and global threats, and social vulnerability to these pressures places at risk the livelihoods, food security, well-being, and traditional lifestyles of coastal communities and cultures of the Asia-Pacific region. This article and special issue provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities for small-scale and traditional fisheries and the role of human dimensions research in the sustainable governance of these resource systems. It is increasingly clear that sufficient understanding of the social, economic, and cultural aspects of these linked social-ecological systems is critical in determining pathways toward sustainability.
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Vol. 67 • No. 3