Environmental Defense Fund's Fishery Solutions Center 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 managment or education. Explore a selection of top academic studies, reports and infographics on RBM.

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  • Management institutions operating at different spatial scales create different kinds of hierarchies, relationships, and incentives. Some large-scale institutional changes (e.g., individual fishing quotas) have effectively realigned economic incentives of individual harvesters, but fishermen respond to a diversity of factors in addition to economic incentives, including environmental and social factors. We assessed potential barriers and bridges to using cooperative strategies to improve sustainability of small-scale U.S. fisheries. We selected California's nearshore fishery to demonstrate the methods, but the analytical framework we present can be applied to many others.
  • As well as serving valuable biodiversity conservation roles, functioning no-take fishery reserves protect a portion of the fishery stock as insurance against future overfishing. So long as there is adequate compliance by the fishing community, it is likely that they will also sustain and even enhance fishery yields in the surrounding area. However, there are significant gaps in scientific knowledge that must be filled if no-take reserves are to be used effectively as fishery management tools. Unfortunately, these gaps are being glossed over by some uncritical advocacy. Here, we review the science, identify the most crucial gaps, and suggest ways to fill them, so that a promising management tool can help meet the growing challenges faced by coastal marine fisheries.
  • Plans for deep-sea mining could pose a serious threat to marine ecosystems.
  • Demographic parameters from seven exploited coral reef lutjanid species were compared as a case study of the implications of intrafamily variation in life histories for multispecies harvest management. Each species had a unique growth pattern, with differences in length-at-age and mean asymptotic fork length, but smaller species generally grew fast during the first 1–2 years of life and larger species grew more slowly over a longer period. The variability in life history strategies of these tropical lutjanids makes generalizations about lutjanid life histories difficult, but the fact that all seven had characteristics that would make them particularly vulnerable to fishing indicates that harvest of tropical lutjanids should be managed with caution.
  • Environmental heterogeneity frequently induces spatial variability in somatic growth, which can cause inter-population differences in reproductive output among organisms for which fecundity is dependent upon body size. Mean asymptotic body size, L∞, varies among populations of several reef fish species. Our study suggests that variation in L∞ within a network of interconnected subpopulations may not be an important determinant of population behavior under certain conditions, but might be important in coping with periods of persistent, system-wide recruitment failure. Key words: Growth, Asymptotic size, Recruitment variability, Spatial structure, Dispersal
  • Patchily distributed demersal marine organisms that possess a pelagic larval stage have the potential to form complex linkages among sedentary adult populations through larval dispersal. Effective management of such open populations requires that we know how they are organized and interact. Common research strengths and gaps among researchers working on reef fishes and benthic decapods are highlighted, as well as those areas given greater attention by one group, the lead of which the other group will need to follow. Finally, it is suggested that greater progress towards understanding dispersal and connectivity in the future will best be achieved by integrating the approaches we review into large-scale, multidisciplinary, collaborative research programs developed and carried out in association with natural resource managers.
  • The ocean science and policy communities articulate two prevailing arguments to encourage changes in human behavior that will result in conservation of marine biological diversity. The first is utilitarian and includes encouraging the sustainable use of exploited ocean resources (i.e., prudent use of the public commons) and conserving particular attributes of the environment that provide ecosystem services such as processing wastes from human activities. The other is ethical and includes valuing biological diversity for its inherent properties and believing in its conservation for its own sake. Are these two approaches alone sufficient to build the social consensus needed to alter human behavior and implement programs to preserve and restore the world's oceans?
  • A growing push to implement catch share fishery programs is based partly on the recognition that they may provide stronger incentives for ecological stewardship than conventional fisheries management. Using data on population status, quota compliance, discard rates, use of habitat-damaging gear, and landings for 15 catch share programs in North America, I tested the hypothesis that catch share systems lead to improved ecological stewardship and status of exploited populations.
  • Because conventional markets value only certain goods or services in the ocean (e.g. fish), other services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems that are not priced, paid for, or stewarded tend to become degraded.Coastal socio-ecosystems are particularly susceptible to these market failures. Here, we describe ‘ecomarkets’ – markets and financial tools – that could generate value for broad portfolios of coastal ecosystem services by addressing the unique problems of the coastal zone, including the lack of clear management and exclusion rights.
  • National and international legislation provide impetus for implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) in the northeast region of the United States. EBFM provides a coherent means to reconcile conflicts among fisheries as well as ultimately simplifying the management system. Three approaches are considered. The challenges and opportunities afforded by EBFM are discussed as well as potential institutional changes and the next steps of implementation.

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