Fishing for Development: Capacity Development in Fisheries Management: A Case Study from the Marshall Islands

Benjamin Graham

In the 1990s, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) turned its fisheries from a relatively stagnant industry to one which is more open, lucrative and private sector driven, with the support of a series of strategic capacity development interventions sponsored by the ADB. The turnaround in RMI’s fisheries sector, which is described in this case as “one of the more positive episodes in the economic history of the Marshall Islands”, was attributed, at least in part, to the leadership of RMI stakeholders, effective use of external advisors, and a flexible, adaptive and holistic approach to sector reforms.

The momentum and effects of the changes (both positive and negative) that took place in MIMRA and the industry in the late 1990s are still very visible today. While some clear negative externalities have emerged, this turnaround story is still considered one of the more positive episodes in the otherwise unexciting economic history of the Marshall Islands.

“In a sense, as the new Director of MIMRA, I am reaping the benefi ts of these TAs,” concluded Glen Joseph. “We can all see
the value of the capacity development that took place and that continues to take place. Yes, we still have many challenges. But I think our ability to recognize and address our challenges, as well as opportunities, has really improved.”

Year of publication: 
ADB Capacity Development in the Pacific
Themes and sectors: 
Agriculture, fisheries, and food security
Case story length: 
36 pages

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