Approaches to managing inland fisheries vary between systems and regions but are often based on large-scale marine fisheries principles and thus limited and outdated. Rarely do they adopt holistic approaches that consider the complex interplay among humans, fish, and the environment. We argue that there is an urgent need for a shift in inland fisheries management towards holistic and transdisciplinary approaches that embrace the principles of social-ecological systems at the watershed scale. The interconnectedness of inland fisheries with their associated watershed (biotic, abiotic, and humans) make them extremely complex and challenging to manage and protect. For this reason, the watershed is a logical management unit. To assist management at this scale, we propose a framework that integrates disparate concepts and management paradigms to facilitate inland fisheries management and sustainability. We contend that inland fisheries need to be managed as social-ecological watershed system (SEWS). The framework supports watershed-scale and transboundary governance to manage inland fisheries, and transdisciplinary projects and teams to ensure relevant and applicable monitoring and research. We discuss concepts of social-ecological feedback and interactions of multiple stressors and factors within/between the social-ecological systems. Moreover, we emphasize that management, monitoring, and research on inland fisheries at the watershed scale are needed to ensure long-term sustainable and resilient fisheries.

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Keywords Coupled social-ecological systems, Human behaviour, Inland fisheries, Integrated water resource management, Watershed
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Journal Journal of Environmental Management
Nguyen, V.M. (Vivian M.), Lynch, A.J. (Abigail J.), Young, N. (Nathan), Cowx, I.G. (Ian G.), Beard, T.D. (T. Douglas), Taylor, W.W. (William W.), & Cooke, S.J. (2016). To manage inland fisheries is to manage at the social-ecological watershed scale. Journal of Environmental Management (Vol. 181, pp. 312–325). doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.06.045