Livelihood in this context means the assets available to people and how they use these to sustain their living. A livelihood becomes sustainable when a family or a community has sufficient assets and the capability to use them to create a life free from hunger, disease, illiteracy and all the other factors associated with poverty.
It also becomes sustainable when a family or a community can withstand a shock or trend that threatens its livelihood. Social and human development are also essential parts of a sustainable family or community existence. Capital assets such as a stable family life, equitable access to community institutions and an education however basic are also needed. Likewise, access to medical facilities, comfortable housing and a supply of clean water are prerequisites.
Developed by the Sustainable Livelihoods Development Programme, this training manual is a guide to what assets (these are not exhaustive) may be available to a fishing community. When a set of them combine to bring a community out of poverty on a permanent basis over time, they can be said to be providing a livelihood that is sustainable.