Let’s Work Together: Fisheries and Inter-sectoral Collaboration

Eric Mercier
Published: 15 October 2015
Last edited: 10 October 2017
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Quintana Roo, high in terms of marine productivity, is threatened by over-fishing. Coastal development has led to the decline of key habitats. The lack of artisanal fishermen’s involvement in fisheries management has resulted in unsustainable species extraction. To enable change and facilitate collaboration for conservation, the Kanan Kay Alliance was founded as an inter-sectorial coalition. It establishes a network of fish refuges and empowers fishermen's participation in fisheries management.


Coral reef
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
Scale of implementation


Quintana Roo, México


little involvement of fishermen, lacking no-fishing areas and inhibited conservation - Limited participation of fishermen in political processes regarding marine conversation and fisheries management - Disarticulation related to marine conservation and fisheries management efforts - Low coverage of no-take fishing areas worldwide


fisherfolk, civil society organizations, local and national governmental authorities, academics as well as the tourism sector (diving, recreational fishing) and local businesses (fish and seafood shops)

How do the building blocks interact?

= will be added = (available in Spanish)


1) A network of fish refuges that protect more than 15,000 hectares of coral reefs, pastizales and costal lagoons was established in a relatively short amount of time. 2) An organization of six fisherfolk cooperatives, in which fishermen have strong leadership and a vision for sustainable fisheries as the only way to have a competitive future, was strengthened. 3) The Alianza Kanan Kay has been active for three years as a network of collaboration and coordination that involves around 40 organizations from the government, fisherfolk, civil society organizations, academic researchers and private donors.


At one General Assembly, Kanan Kay Alliance members discussed which terminology to use when referring to “fish refuges”. For some governmental representatives, changing to a different term that was both technically correct and easy to understand made a lot of sense. For the fishermen, however, changing the term would have been synonymous with betraying the overall goal of the Alliance. The discussion reached a point where the fishermen were prepared to exercise their power of veto and leave the assembly if the term were to be changed. In the end, the Alliance decided to keep the term, as it was of great importance to the fishermen. This incident helped increase the fishermen´s confidence in a joint management approach and its successful implementation. The fishermen realised that members were equal partners, all committed to the same mission of developing responsible fisheries.

Contributed by

Inés López

Kanan Kay Alliance


Alianza Kanan Kay