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.

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  • FEDECOOP is a highly notable Cooperative fishing rights system for small-scale fisheries that uses no-take zones and coordination across multiple communities as part of a co-management fishery plan with government.
  • The most productive fishing Cooperative in the Mexican-Caribbean since 1982, this area-based fishery management program has steadied the Punta Allen lobster catch while most other areas have seen a decline.
  • Policies are arising around the world, most recently in the United States, that mandate the implementation of marine spatial planning as a practical pathway towards ecosystem-based management. In the new United States ocean policy, ecosystem services are at the core of marine spatial planning, but there is little guidance on how ecosystem services should be measured. A new framework is shown here for practical, rigorous ecosystem service measurement that highlights contributions from both natural and social systems.
  • Cyanobacterial blooms affect aquatic ecosystems due to their capability of producing cyanotoxins (e.g., microcystins, MC; cylindrospermopsin, CYN) and other bioactive compounds. Filter feeding zooplankton are amongst the first organisms affected and research has mainly focused on their interactions with toxic cyanobacteria. We investigated oxidative stress, biotransformation and energetic responses of Daphnia magna after exposure to cyanobacterial extracts. The physiological and behavioral alterations indicate stress, which may impair overall performance of zooplankton at the environmental realistic chronic exposure scenario.
  • This report is based on results from the peer-reviewed study, Assessing catch shares’ effects: evidence from Federal United States and associated British Columbian fisheries, which analyzed 15 fisheries in the United States and British Columbia before and after implementing catch share programs and found that these programs deliver significant environmental, economic and social improvements compared to traditional management practices.
  • The Ocean Prosperity Roadmap: Fisheries and Beyond is a new collection of research designed to inform decision makers, including governments and investors, on effective ocean and coastal resource management strategies to maximize economic, conservation and societal benefits.
  • Developed by an independent, bipartisan working group of leaders in government, fisheries science, management and policy, this report was created to present policymakers with clear and achievable methods to reverse the economic and environmental decline of U.S. fisheries.
  • The purpose of this pilot study was to test the utility of geospatial analysis tools for eliciting and integrating fishermen's knowledge into marine protected area (MPA) planning processes in California, United States. A participatory design yielded 30 local knowledge interviews that were coded for socioeconomic and biodiversity information. The resulting information is useful in understanding past conflicts around MPA siting proposals and for identifying likely sources of agreement and disagreement. Products include a protocol for rapid socioeconomic assessment; a database of fishermen's knowledge and information; and a geographic information system for further use in California's MPA planning process.
  • At large geographical scales, biogeographers have suggested that variation in species richness results from factors such as area, temperature, environmental stability, and geological processes, among many others. From the species pools generated by these large-scale processes, community ecologists have suggested that local-scale assembly of communities is achieved through processes such as competition, predation, recruitment, disturbances and immigration. The authors analyze the hypotheses on speciation and dispersal for reef fish from the Indian and Pacific oceans and show how dispersal from a major center of origination can simultaneously account for both large-scale gradients in species richness and the structure of local communities.
  • Many tools have been developed to support measuring and evaluating fishery performance. The Fishery Performance Indicators (FPIs), developed by Anderson et al.*, are a flexible assessment tool designed to assess the state of individual fisheries in terms of ecological, economic and social performance. The FPIs can build a holistic understanding of the performance of a fishery and the communities it supports.