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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  • Catch shares are used widely in the United States and British Columbia. This study reviewed the performance of programs in these regions and found that catch share programs deliver significant environmental, economic and social improvements when compared to traditional management practices. Read more.
  • In addition to the influence of current fishing rents (as measured by lease prices), we explore the effect of market interest rates, risk, and expected changes in future rents on quota asset prices. Controlling for these other factors, the results support a fairly simple relationship between quota asset and contemporaneous lease prices. Consistent with theoretical expectations, the results indicate that quota asset prices are positively related to declines in interest rates, lower levels of risk, expected increases in future fish prices, and expected cost reductions from rationalization under the quota system.
  • This study investigated body size to fecundity relationships of a reef fish species targeted by line fishing, and examines the potential benefits of increased batch fecundity in no-take reserves compared to fished areas around the Palm, Whitsunday and Keppel Island Groups, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Greater batch fecundity, longer spawning seasons and potentially greater larval survival due to larger egg size from bigger individuals might significantly enhance the potential benefits of no-take marine reserves on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • This is one of the most comprehensive and successful rights-based management programs in the world, including more than 70 species, 30 of which are managed via quota, and includes all commercial fishermen targeting groundfish, regardless of gear type.
  • The California Fisheries Fund (CFF) is a revolving capital investment tool aimed at supporting the transition to more stable and profitable fisheries. EDF developed the concept for the fund because we found, particularly in California, that fishermen’s lack of access to ready capital was a significant impediment to reforming failing fisheries. Through sharing both our successes and our challenges, we hope to highlight meaningful details, make helpful suggestions and contribute to a rich dialogue about the potential for new financing mechanisms to make our oceans more healthy and productive.
  • Compliance with catch limits is vital to the success of a fishery management approach. This cross-cutting analysis of biological impacts of catch shares, by Melnychuk, M. C. et al., shows that these systems result in greater compliance with catch limits than other management strategies.
  • The collapse of fisheries is a serious environmental, economic and social issue. This study, by Costello et al., found that implementation of catch share programs in fisheries can prevent and potentially reverse the global trend toward widespread fisheries collapse.
  • The failure to assess the potential impacts of natural and human activities on marine ecosystems can pose risks to marine biodiversity and impact the ability of these systems to continue to produce the goods and services we depend on. EDF developed the Comprehensive Assessment of Risk to Ecosystems (CARE) model to help fishing communities to identify and rapidly rank threats to marine ecosystems or a species health and productivity, even when few data are available. CARE fills deficits in scientific data with local knowledge. Without an accurate assessment of the risks facing marine ecosystems, managers may spend valuable resources attempting to limit or control the wrong drivers of system change.
  • This paper provides the background for establishing a seafood brand and consumer education program, known as Carteret Catch™ and for creating Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs), a direct marketing arrangement for seafood, first piloted in Carteret County, North Carolina. A social marketing approach was used to facilitate the partnerships and the behavioral changes among fishermen, seafood retailers, restaurant chefs, and the public. These projects have the potential to sustain local fishing communities and the commercial fishing industry and serve as models for other fishing communities in the United States and abroad.
  • This Design Manual is a comprehensive overview and roadmap of catch share design, drawing on hundreds of fisheries in more than 30 countries and expertise from more than 60 fishery experts from around the world. This is Volume 1: A Guide for Managers and Fishermen.