Environmental Defense Fund's Sustainable Fisheries Toolkit is the leading online resource for science-based information on rights-based management. No single organization in the world has invested more time or resources on rights-based management or education. Use the filters below to explore EDF’s fishery tools, manuals, case studies, academic studies, reports, and activities.

Visit Google Scholar’s page on RBM for additional studies.

  • Identifying fishery stakeholders and their roles within a fishery system can provide context and inform strategies for implementing sustainable fisheries management. Use this tool to diagnose the major institutions and entities within the fishery system, their influence and their interest in improving fisheries management.
  • This User Guide accompanies the Fishery Systems Mapping Tool. Download this User Guide for detailed instructions on using the Tool.
  • Sin cuotas de captura, las pesquerías han sufrido sobreexplotación, lo que ha causado altos costos para pescar, pérdida de empleos y el colapso de comunidades pesqueras enteras. Esta infografía muestra el fracaso de la administración tradicional de las pesquerías.
  • This framework helps managers and stakeholders consider and choose appropriate analytical methods and alternative fishery management approaches, based on available data and feasibility constraints. It highlights limitations and considerations for each method and illustrates the use of our framework by presenting case-study examples.
  • Heal the Ocean is about people and communities overcoming serious threats to the ocean, ranging from farm runoff to overfishing. It illustrates the problems besetting the ocean, both current and emerging, starting with the coastal zone and moving out through nearshore waters, the continental shelf, to the open ocean and deep sea. Drawing on the authors own experiences, the book is strongly solutions-oriented.
  • The ecological and biological benefits of catch shares are often studied on a fishery-by-fishery basis. This article, by Branch, T. A., provides a synthesis of a number of studies finding that ITQs (a type of catch share) have had largely positive effects on target species. Desired outcomes were connected to sustainable catch limits and effective enforcement.
  • Healthy, functioning marine ecosystems are critical to the well-being of so called small island developing states (SIDS): these ecosystems contribute to local food security, foster a sense of community and cultural identity, and benefit national economies both directly through the extraction of natural resources and indirectly through tourism-based activities.
  • The first few months after a new management system hits the water can be crucial in determining its long-term success. Use this tool to review the actions that are often necessary for implementing a new fishery management program.
  • The major goal of marine reserves is to protect biological diversity and ecosystem functions. Marine reserves should be integrated into stock assessments, catch limits, bycatch reduction policies, and habitat protection measures. One can define this integration to mean the adjustment of marine reserve design and fishery management policies to maximize the benefits of both fisheries and reserves, while minimizing the costs. The potential benefits of marine reserves to fisheries are: insurance against management errors; reference conditions for stock assessments; some measure of bycatch reduction; insurance against extinction of unassessed yet vulnerable species; and some measure of habitat protection. Marine reserves may enhance catch-per-unit-effort and total catches. While displacement of fishing effort and attendant congestion and localized depletion in other areas does not appear to be a problem with small reserves, these issues could become significant if very large reserves are created. Fishing capacity reduction measures and limited entry programs can help to prevent these problems, as well as address one of the fundamental drivers of overfishing and lack of profitability.
  • There is a strong body of good practice that shows how abundant and healthy fish populations support greater social and economic benefits for society. However, one key constraint to recovering fisheries at the pace and scale required has been a lack of capital to finance their transition to sustainability. With the Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit (ISU), EDF developed a report which provides a set of tools for designing sustainable fisheries projects in a way that will attract investment from government, philanthropic and private investors.