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.

  • The depletion of commercially exploited fish populations is well documented in the scientific literature, with new studies and perspectives being published at a rapid rate. Economic problems in fisheries, such as extreme economic inefficiency and escalating government subsidies, are also fairly well documented. However, in spite of a number of fundamental theoretical contributions, the literature has been less successful in identifying socially and politically practical solutions to these problems.
  • Groundbreaking new research shows that if oceans were managed sustainably, within 10 years profits could annually grow 115 percent to 51 billion USD over today. However, if fishery reforms are not adopted and status quo remains, the health of the oceans will continue to decline. By sharing knowledge, tools and experience with one another, we can help bring about needed change. EDF’s approach to fisheries reform centers on working with governments to grant fishermen long-term, secure rights to fish under a clear set of rules.
  • The authors analyzed the relationships between the larval and juvenile abundances of selected estuarine-dependent fishes that spawn during the winter in continental shelf waters of the U.S. Atlantic coast. Cross-correlation analysis was used to examine the relationships between the larval and juvenile abundances within species. Tests of synchrony across species were used to find similarities in recruitment dynamics for species with similar winter shelf-spawning life-history strategies. Positive correlations were found between the larval and juvenile abundances for three of the six selected species (spot, pinfish, and southern flounder). These three species have similar geographic ranges that primarily lie south of Cape Hatteras. There were no significant correlations between the larval and juvenile abundances for the other three species (summer flounder, Atlantic croaker, and Atlantic menhaden); the authors suggest several factors that could account for the lack of a relationship. Synchrony was found among the three southern species within both the larval and juvenile abundance time series. These results provide support for using larval ingress measures as indices of abundance for these and other species with similar geographic ranges and winter shelf-spawning life-history strategies.
  • Growing concern over the threat of global climate change has led to an increased interest in research and development of renewable energy technologies. The ocean provides a vast source of potential energy resources, and as renewable energy technology develops, investment in ocean energy is likely to grow. Research in ocean thermal energy conversion, wave energy, tidal energy, and offshore wind energy has led to promising technologies and in some cases, commercial deployment. These sources have the potential to help alleviate the global climate change threat, but the ocean environment should be protected while these technologies are developed. Renewable energy sources from the ocean may be exploited without harming the marine environment if projects are sited and scaled appropriately and environmental guidelines are followed.
  • This assessment describes the potential of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) to produce not only clean energy but also potable water, refrigeration, and aquaculture products. Higher oil prices and recent technical advances have improved the economic and technical viability of OTEC, perhaps making this technology more attractive and feasible than in the past.
  • Fisheries management regimes take many forms, but most fail to designate shares of the catch. This failure creates strong incentives for individuals to maximize their share without regard to long-term sustainability, because the benefits of conservation actions do not accrue to individuals. The key to protecting fish stocks, habitats, and the communities that depend on them will be to implement Designated Access Privileges (DAPs) that are appropriate for each fishery or community, making investments in sustainability, and creating financing mechanisms that are themselves sustainable, drawing on the increased value that DAP fisheries can produce.
  • Through a recognition of customary marine tenure approaches in modern law, this TURF has resulted in strong community support, high compliance with regulations and an increase in food fish and other important species.
  • Data-limited methods that are currently available can be used to estimate risks to marine ecosystems, determine the vulnerability of a stock to fishing pressure, calculate the level of biomass depletion, assess the sustainability of the fishery and establish sustainable fishing targets and other management reference points.
  • In order to better understand the characteristics of sustainably managed fisheries, it is useful to outline their key attributes. This tool assesses the presence or absence of attributes often associated with sustainable fisheries management.
  • This User Guide accompanies the SEASALT Evaluation. Download this User Guide for detailed instructions on using the Tool.