Publication in Spotlight

Examining progress towards achieving the Ten Steps of the Rome Declaration on Responsible Inland Fisheries

Abigail J. Lynch, Devin M. Bartley,Thomas Douglas Beard Jr, Ian G. Cowx, Simon Funge‐Smith, William W. Taylor, Steven J. Cooke


Inland capture fisheries provide food for nearly a billion people and are important in the livelihoods of millions of households worldwide. Although there are limitations to evaluating many of the contributions made by inland capture fisheries, there is growing recognition by the international community that these services make critical contributions, most notably to food security and livelihoods in rural populations in those low‐income countries with extensive freshwater resources. With the increasing appreciation of the key role of inland fisheries to the health and well‐being of human populations globally, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Michigan State University convened the 2015 global conference, Freshwater, fish, and the future – cross‐sectoral approaches to sustain livelihoods, food security, and aquatic ecosystems. What emerged from the interactions between inland fisheries’ scientists, resource managers, policymakers and community representatives from across the world was a forward‐looking call to action culminating with the 2015 Rome Declaration “Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries” (FAO & MSU, Rome declaration on responsible inland fisheries: 5735E/1/06.16). Four years after this landmark conference and declaration, we seek to advance discussion on the “Ten Steps,” namely what successful implementation looks like, assess current examples of implementation, suggest potential signals of progress and provide some specific, indicative examples of progress for each step. While there are promising signs of progress, we conclude that there remains a strong need to galvanize momentum for sustained action to ensure that inland fish and fisheries are accounted for and incorporated into broader water resource management discussions and frameworks. [ Read More ]

Recent publications from the group


Lyach, Roman. 2022. The Effect of Fishery Management on the Yield of the Critically Endangered European Eel Anguilla anguilla in Mesotrophic Rivers and Streams in Central Europe. Fishes 7, no. 1:42.


Lyach, Roman. 2021. Harvest Rates of Rheophilic Fish Vimba vimba, Chondrostoma nasus, and Barbus barbus Have a Strong Relationship with Restocking Rates and Harvest Rates of Their Predator Silurus glanis in Lowland Mesotrophic Rivers in Central Europe. Sustainability 13, no. 20: 11379. 

Shephard, S., Ryan, D., O'Reilly, P. and Roche, W., 2021. Using local ecological knowledge to inform semi-quantitative fishery surveillance indicators: an example in marine recreational angling. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Jere, A., Jere, W. W. L., Mtethiwa, A., & Kassam, D. 2021. Impact of Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Pisces: Cichlidae) invasion on taxonomic and functional diversity of native fish species in the upper Kabompo River, northwest of Zambia. Ecology and Evolution, 11, 12845– 12857.

Cooper, A. R., Infante, D. M., O'Hanley, J. R., Yu, H., Neeson, T. M., & Brumm, K. J. 2021. Prioritizing native migratory fish passage restoration while limiting the spread of invasive species: A case study in the Upper Mississippi River. Science of The Total Environment, 148317.

Arthur, R. I.Skerritt, D. J.Schuhbauer, A.Ebrahim, N.Friend, R. M., & Sumaila, U. R. 2021Small-scale fisheries and local food systems: Transformations, threats and opportunitiesFish and Fisheries001– 16.

Barbarossa, V. Bosmans, J., Wander, N., King, H., Bierkens, M.F.P., Huijbregts M.A.J., Schipper, A.M. 2021. Threats of global warming to the world’s freshwater fishes. Nat Commun 12, (1701). 

Jeanson, A.L., Lynch, A.J., Thiem, J.D., Potts, W.M., Haapasalo, T., Danylchuk, A.J., Beard, T.D., Arlinghaus, R. Hunt, L.M. Young, N., Cooke, S.J., 2021. A bright spot analysis of inland recreational fisheries in the face of climate change: learning about adaptation from small successes. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries 31,181–200. 

Simmance, F.A., Simmance, A.B., Kolding, J., Schreckenberg, K., Tompkins, E., Poppy, G., Nagoli, J., 2021. A photovoice assessment for illuminating the role of inland fisheries to livelihoods and the local challenges experienced through the lens of fishers in a climate-driven lake of Malawi. Ambio. 

Duncan, N., Silva, S., Conallin, J., Freed, S., Akester, M., Baumgartner, L., McCartney, M., Dubois, M., Sellamuttu, S.S. 2021. Fish for whom?: Integrating the management of social complexities into technical investments for inclusive, multi-functional irrigation. World Development Perspectives 22.

Arthington, A.H. 2021. Grand Challenges to Support the Freshwater Biodiversity Emergency Recovery Plan. Front. Environ. Sci.

Belton, B., Rosen, L., Middleton, L., Ghazali, S.B., Mamun, A., Shieh, J., Noronha, H.S., Dhar, G., Ilyas, M., Price, C.R., Nasr-Allah, A.M., EL-Sira, I.S., Baliarsingh, B.K., Panemangalore, A.P., Rajendran, S., Mohan, A.B., Babu, R., Akester, M.J., Phyo, E.E., Khin, M., Olaniyi, A.A., Siriwardena, S.N., Bostock, J., Little, D., Phillips, M.J., Thilsted, S.H. 2021. COVID-19 impacts and adaptations in Asia and Africa’s aquatic food value chains

Su, G., Logez, M., Xu, J., Tao, S., Villager, S., Brosse, S. 2021. Human impacts on global freshwater fish biodiversity. Science 371, 6531, (835-838).

Cooke, S.J., Twardek, W.M., Lynch, A.J., Cowx, I.G., Olden, J.D., Funge-Smith, S., Lorenzen, K., Arlinghaus, R., Chen, Y., Wey, O.L.F., Nyober, E.A, Pompeu, P.S., Carlson, S.M., Koehn, J.D., Pinder, A.C., Raghavan, R., Aaron, S.P., Konings, A.A., Britton, R. 2021. A Global Perspective on the Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Freshwater Fish Biodiversity. Biological Conservation 253. 

Harrison, I.J., Vollmer, D., 2021. H2O ≠ CO2: framing and responding to the global water crisis. Environ. Res. Lett. 16

Meara, L.O., Cohen, P.J., Simmance, F., Marinda, P., Nagoli, J., Teoh, S.J., Funge-Smith, S., Milla, D.J., Thilsted, S.H., Byrd, K.A., 2021. Inland fisheries critical for the diet quality of young children in sub-Saharan Africa. Global Food Security 28. 

Hein, T., Infante, D.M., Schinegger, R., Schoelynck, J., Weigelhofer, G., 2021. Editorial/Special Issue on "Challenges and Innovative Solutions in River Sciences" --> from the 6th International Symposium of the International Society for River Science in Vienna 2019. Front. Environ. Sci

Kim, J.Y., Atique, U., An, K., 2021, Relative Abundance and Invasion Dynamics of Alien Fish Species Linked to Chemical Conditions, Ecosystem Health, Native Fish Assemblage, and Stream Order. Water 13(2). 

Fiorella, K., E.R. Bageant, N.B. Schwartz, S.H. Thilsted, and C.B. Barrett. 2021. Fishers’ response to temperature change reveals importance of integrating human behavior in climate change analysis. Science Advances 7(18).

Loury, E.K., Elliott, V.L., Ainsley, S.M., Baird, I.G., Baumgartner, L.J., Chhuoy, S., Lee, D.J., Ngor, P.B., Touch, B., Vu, A.V. and Hogan, Z.S. 2021, Priority knowledge needs for management of migratory fish species in Cambodia. Fish Manag Ecol.

Fiorella, K.J., Bageant, E.R., Mojica, L., Obuya, J.A., Ochieng, J., Olela, P., Otuo, P.W., Onyango, H.O., Aura, C.M. and Okronipa, H., 2021. Small-scale fishing households facing COVID-19: The case of Lake Victoria, KenyaFisheries Research237,105856.


Betts, J.T., Espinoza, J.F.M., Dans, A.J., Jordan, C.A., Mayer, J.L., Urquhart, G.R. 2020. Fishing with Pesticides Affects River Fisheries and Community Health in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua. Sustainability 12(23). 

Robinson, K.F., Alsip, P.J., Drake, A.R., Kao, Y.C., Koops, M.A., Mason, D.M., Rutherford, E.S., Zhang, H. 2020. Reviewing uncertainty in bioenergetics and food web models to project invasion impacts: four major Chinese carps in the Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 47(83-95). 

Bartley, D.M., Kaunda, E., Bennett, A., Funge-Smith, S., and Taylor, W. 2020. Improving the fish value chain in Malawi: linking stakeholders to policy makers and donors [GLFC online]. Available from

Kelly F. Robinson, Peter J. Alsip, Andrew R. Drake, Yu-Chun Kao, Marten A. Koops, Doran M. Mason, Edward S. Rutherford, Hongyan Zhang, 2020. Reviewing uncertainty in bioenergetics and food web models to project invasion impacts: Four major Chinese carps in the Great Lakes, Journal of Great Lakes Research. In Press.

Shephard, S., Valbo‐Jorgensen, J., Abadía, J., Baigún, C., Doria, C.R., Fabré, N.N., Isaac, V.J., Ngor, P.B., Ruffino, M.L. and Funge‐Smith, S. 2020. From Amazon Catfish to Mekong Money Fish: Size‐Based Assessment of Data‐Limited Commercial Inland Fisheries. Fisheries. Accepted Author Manuscript.

Jere, A., Jere, W.W.L., Mtethiwa, A., Kasssam, D.,  2020. Dietary preference of nile tilapia versus native fish species in the upper Kabompo River, northwest of Zambia. Aquatic Biology.

Koehn, J.D., Raymond, S.A., Stuart, I., Todd, C.R., Balcombe, S.R., Zampatti, B.P., Bamford, H., Ingram, B.A., Bice, C., Burndred, K., Butler, G., Baumgartner, L., Clunie, P., Ellis, I., Forbes, J., Hutchison, M., Koster, W., Lintermans, Lyon, J.P., M., Mallen-Cooper, M., McLellan, M., Pearce, L., Ryall, J., Sharpe, C., Stoessel, D.J., Thiem, J.D., Tonkin, Z., Townsend, A., Ye, Q. 2020. A compendium of ecological knowledge for restoration of freshwater fishes in Australia’s Murray-Darling BasinMarine and Freshwater Research early view.

Koehn, J.D., Balcombe, S.R. Bice, C.M., Baumgartner, L., Burndred, K., Ellis, I., Koster, W., Lintermans, M., Pearce. L. Sharpe, C., Stuart, I., and Todd, C.R. 2020. What is needed to restore native fishes in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin? Marine and Freshwater Research.

Kao, Y., Rogers, M.W., Bunnell, D.B. et al. 2020. Effects of climate and land-use changes on fish catches across lakes at a global scaleNat Commun 11, 252.

Lynch, A.J., Elliott, V., Phang, S.C.,C laussen, J.E., Harrison, I., Murchie, K.J., Steel, E.A., Stokes, G.L.  2020. Inland fish and fisheries integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Nat Sustain.

Lynch, A. J., D. M. Bartley, T. D. Beard, Jr., D. B. Bunnell, S. J. Cooke, I. G. Cowx, S. Funge-Smith, C. P. Paukert, M. W. Rogers, W. W. Taylor. 2020. InFish: A research network to promote global conservation and responsible use of inland fish. Fisheries.

Michaela Lo, James Reed, Leandro Castello, E Ashley Steel, Emmanuel A Frimpong, Amy Ickowitz, The Influence of Forests on Freshwater Fish in the Tropics: A Systematic ReviewBioScience, , biaa021,

Tickner, D., J. Opperman, R. Abell, M. Acreman, A. Arthington, S. E. Bunn, S. J. Cooke, W. Darwall, G. Edwards, I. Harrison, K. Hughes, T. Jones, D. Leclère, A. J. Lynch, P. Leonard, M. McClain, P. McIntyre, D. Muruven, J. D. Olden, S. Ormerod, J. Robinson, R. Tharme, M. Thieme, K. Tockner, M. Wright, L. Young. 2020. Bending the Curve of Freshwater Biodiversity Loss – An Emergency Recovery PlanBioscience. 70(4):330-342.

Lynch, AJ, Bartley, DM, Beard, TD, Cowx, IG, Funge-smith, S, Taylor, WW, and Cooke., SJ. 2020. Examining progress towards achieving the Ten Steps of the Rome Declaration on Responsible Inland Fisheries. Fish & Fisheries. 21:190-203.


Fiorella, K. J., E. R. Bageant, M. Kim, V. Sean, V. Try, H. J. MacDonell, E. Baran, Y. Kura, A. C. Brooks, C. B. Barrett, and S. Thilsted. 2019. Analyzing drivers of fish biomass and biodiversity within community fish refuges in Cambodia. Ecology and Society 24(3):18.

Cooper AR, Tsang Y‐P, Infante DM, Daniel WM, McKerrow AJ, Wieferich D. 2019. Protected areas lacking for many common fluvial fishes of the conterminous USA. Divers Distrib. 2019;25:1289–1303. https://doi. org/10.1111/ddi.12937

Phang, SC, Cooperman, M, Lynch, AJ, et al. 2019. Fishing for conservation of freshwater tropical fishes in the Anthropocene. Aquatic Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst. 1– 13.

Elliott, V. , Chheng, P. , Uy, S. and Holtgrieve, G. W. 2019. Monitoring of tropical freshwater fish resources for sustainable use. J Fish Biol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/jfb.13974

Wang, Y., Kao, Y.-C., Zhou, Y., Zhang, H., Yu, X., Lei, G., 2019. Can water level management, stock enhancement, and fishery restriction offset negative effects of hydrological changes on the four major Chinese carps in China’s largest freshwater lake? Ecol. Model. 403, 1-10.

Trisos, C. H., Alexander, S. M., Gephart, J. A., Gurung, R., McIntyre, P. B., & Short, R. E. 2019. Mosquito net fishing exemplifies conflict among Sustainable Development Goals. Nature Sustainability, 2(1), 5–7.

Bower, S. D., A. M. Song, P. Onyango, S. J. Cooke, J. Kolding. 2019. Using Transdisciplinary Research Solutions to Support Governance in Inland Fisheries. In: Chuenpagdee R., Jentoft S. (eds) Transdisciplinarity for Small-Scale Fisheries Governance. MARE Publication Series, vol 21. Springer, Cham.

Lynch, A. J., L. J. Baumgartner, C. A. Boys, J. Conallin, I. G. Cowx, C. M. Finlayson, P. A. Franklin, Z. Hogan, J. D. Koehn, M. P. McCartney, G. O’Brien, K. Phouthavong, L. G. M. Silva, C. A. Tob, J. Valbo-Jørgensen, A. V. Vu, L. Whiting, A. Wibowo, P. Duncan. 2019. Speaking the same language: Using the Sustainable Development Goals to talk inland fish into irrigation decisions. Marine and Freshwater Research. 70:1211-1228.


Patricio, H.C., S.A. Zipper, M.L. Peterson, S.M. Ainsley, E.K. Loury, S. Ounboundisane, and D.B. Demko. 2018. Fish catch and community composition in a data-poor Mekong River subcatchment characterised through participatory surveys of harvest from an artisanal fishery. Marine and Freshwater Research. Early Online Access: DOI: 10.1071/MF17338

Reid, A. J., A. K. Carlson, I. F. Creed, E. J. Eliason,P. A. Gell, P. T. J. Johnson, K. A. Kidd, T. J. MacCormack, J. D. Olden, S. J. Ormerod, John P. Smol, W. W. Taylor, K. Tockner, J. C. Vermaire, D. Dudgeon, S. J. Cooke. 2018. Emerging threats and persistent conservation challenges for freshwater biodiversity. Biological Reviews doi: 10.1111/brv.12480

Lapointe, D., M. S. Cooperman, L. J. Chapman, T. D. Clark, A. L. Val, M. S. Ferreira, J. S. Balirwa, D. Mbabazi, M. Mwanja, L. Chhom, L. Hannah, L. Kaufman, A. P. Farrell, S. J. Cooke. Predicted impacts of climate warming on aerobic performance and upper thermal tolerance of six tropical freshwater fishes spanning three continents. Conservation Physiology 6:1: coy056

Basher, Z., A. J. Lynch, W. W. Taylor. 2018. New global high-resolution river centerlines of large rivers systems. Data in Brief 20: 1552-1555.

Fluet-chouinard, E., Funge-smith, S., & Mcintyre, P. B. (2018). Global hidden harvest of freshwater fish revealed by household surveys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115(29): 7623–7628. doi:10.1073/pnas.1721097115


Loury, E. K., S. M. Ainsley, S. D. Bower, R. Chuenpagdee, T. Farrell, A. G. Guthrie, S. Heng, Z. Lunn, A. A. Mamun, R. Oyanedel, S. Rocliffe, S. Satumanatpan, and S. J. Cooke. 2017. Salty stories, fresh spaces: Lessons for aquatic protected areas from marine and freshwater experiences. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems:1-16. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2868

Paukert, C. P., A. J. Lynch, T. D. Beard Jr., Y. Chen, S. Cooke, M. J. Cooperman, I. G. Cowx, L. Ibengwe, D. M. Infante, B. J. E. Meyers, P. Hòa Nguyễn, and I. J. Winfield. 2017. Designing a global assessment of climate change on inland fish and fisheries: knowns and needs. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 27:393-409.

Romulo, C.L., Basher, Z, Lynch, A.J., Kao, Y-C, and Taylor, W.W. 2017. Assessing the global distribution of river fisheries harvest: a systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence 6:29.

Lynch, A.J., I.G. Cowx, E. Fluet-Chouinard, S.M. Glaser, S.C. Phang, T.D. Beard, Jr., S.D. Bower, J.L. Brooks, D.B. Bunnell, J.E. Claussen, S.J. Cooke, Y.-C. Kao, K. Lorenzen, B.J.E. Myers, A.J. Reid, J.J. Taylor, and S. Youn. (2017). Inland fisheries - invisible but integral to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda for ending poverty by 2030. Global Environmental Change. 47: 167-173.

Deines, A. M., D. B. Bunnell, M. W. Rogers, D. Bennion, W. Woelmer, M. J. Sayers, A. G. Grimm, R. A. Shuchman, Z. B. Raymer, C. N. Brooks, J. G. Mychek-londer, W. Taylor, and T. D. B. Jr. 2017. The contribution of lakes to global inland fisheries harvest. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. doi:10.1002/fee.1503

Lynch, A. J., S. J. Cooke, T. D. Beard, Jr., Y.-C. Kao, K. Lorenzen, A. M. Song, M. S. Allen, Z. Basher, D. B. Bunnell, E. V. Camp, I. G. Cowx, J. A. Freedman, V. M. Nguyen, J. K. Nohner, M. W. Rogers, Z. A. Siders, W. W. Taylor, S. Youn. 2017Grand challenges in the management and conservation of North American inland fish and fisheries. Fisheries 42(2): 115-124.

Vasilis Dakos, Sarah M. Glaser, Chih-hao Hsieh, and George Sugihara. (2017) Elevated nonlinearity as an indicator of shifts in the dynamics of populations under stressJournal of the Royal Society Interface 14(128).


Cooke, S. J., E. H. Allison, T. D. Beard, Jr., R. Arlinghaus, A. H. Arthington, D. M. Bartley, I. G. Cowx, C. Fuentevilla, N. J. Leonard, A. J. Lynch, V. M. Nguyen, S. Youn, W. W. Taylor, R. L. Welcomme. (2016). On the sustainability of inland fisheries: Finding a future for the forgotten. Ambio. 45:753.

Nguyen, V. M., A. J. Lynch, N. Young, I. G. Cowx, T. D. Beard, Jr., W. W. Taylor, S. J. Cooke. (2016). To manage inland fisheries is to manage at the social-ecological watershed scale. Journal of Environmental Management. 181:312-325.
Lynch, A. J., S. J. Cooke, A. Deines, S. Bower, D. B, Bunnell, I. G. Cowx, V. M. Nguyen, J. Nonher, K. Phouthavong, B. Riley, M. W. Rogers, W. W. Taylor, W.M. Woelmer, S. Youn, T. D. Beard, Jr. (2016). The social, economic, and ecological importance of inland fishes and fisheries. Environmental Reviews. 24:1-8.
Lorenzen, K., Cowx, I.G., Entsua-Mensah, R.E.M., Lester, N.P., Koehn, J.D., Randall, R.G., Nam, S., Bonar, S.A., Bunnell, D.B., Venturelli, P., Bower, S.D. & Cooke, S. (2016). Stock assessment in inland fisheries: a foundation for sustainable use and conservation. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 26: 405-440.


Arlinghaus, R., Lorenzen, K., Johnson, B.M., Cooke, S.J. & Cowx, I.G. (2015) Management of freshwater fisheries: addressing habitat, people and fishes. In: Craig, J.F. Freshwater Fisheries Ecology. pp. 557-579. Oxford, UK: Wiley


Youn, S.-J., W.W. Taylor, A. J. Lynch, I. G. Cowx, T. D. Beard, D. M. Bartley, F. Wu. (2014). The importance of inland capture fisheries to global food security. Global Food Security. 3(3-4):142-148.

Lorenzen, K. (2014) Understanding and managing enhancements: why fisheries scientists should care. Journal of Fish Biology 85: 1807-1829.

Hazlerigg, C.R.E., Tyler, C.R., Lorenzen, K., Wheeler, J.R. & Thorbek, P. (2014) Population relevance of toxicant mediated changes in sex ratio in fish: an assessment using an individual-based zebrafish (Danio rerio) model. Ecological Modeling 280: 76-88. 


Martin, S., Lorenzen, K. & Bunnefeld, N. (2013) Fishing farmers: fishing, livelihood diversification and poverty in rural Laos. Human Ecology 41: 737-747


Lorenzen, K., Beveridge, M.C.M. & Mangel, M. (2012) Cultured fish: integrative biology and management of domestication and interactions with wild fish. Biological Reviews 87: 639-660.

Edwards, C.T.T., Hillary, R.M., Levontin, P., Blanchard J. & Lorenzen K. (2012) Fisheries assessment and management: a synthesis of common approaches with special reference to deepwater and data-poor stocks. Reviews in Fisheries Science 20: 126-153.


Martin, S., Lorenzen, K., Arthur, R.I., Kaisone, P. & Souvannalangsy, K. (2011). Impacts of fishing by dewatering on fish assemblages of tropical floodplain wetlands: a matter of frequency and contextBiological Conservation 144: 633-640


Welcomme, R.L., Cowx, I.G. Coates, D. Béné, C., Funge-Smith, S., Halls, A.S. & Lorenzen, K. (2010) Inland capture fisheries. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365: 2881-2896