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 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.
  • This program has ended the race to fish and improved economic efficiency in the world’s largest fishery, which reaches up to 8% of global catch by volume in peak years.
  • The British Columbia halibut fishery provides a natural experiment of the effects for "privatizing the commons." This study indicates that (1) the short-run efficiency gains from privatization may take several years to materialize and can be compromised by restrictions on transferability, duration, and divisibility of the property right; (2) substantial long-run gains in efficiency can be jeopardized by preexisting regulations and the bundling of the property right to the capital stock; and (3) the gains from privatization are not just in terms of cost efficiency but include important benefits in revenue and product form.
  • Determining project sites, fisheries, or communities to begin working with is an important step for many fishery reform strategies. This tool outlines an approach to guide the selection of sites for a project based on criteria deemed important for project goals and strategy.
  • This User Guide accompanies the Site Selection Tool. Download this User Guide for detailed instructions on using the Tool.
  • Many authors have suggested the use of a cap and trade auction system to help reduce bycatch—the incidental take of species by fishing gear targeting other species—of sea turtles in the Hawaii-based swordfish longline fishery. However, we know of no quantitative evaluations of the method. We present a simple mathematical model to serve as a framework to evaluate bycatch auction systems quantitatively. We conclude that cap and trade auction systems have the potential to reduce sea turtle bycatch by creating a financial incentive, while keeping permit costs down to 2–3% of total revenues. While stringent regulations aimed at conserving endangered sea turtles would still be essential, implementation of an auction for issuing transferable bycatch permits would likely enhance the economic efficiency of the fleet. Sea turtle mortality could be reduced further if a shrinking cap on total turtle mortality was introduced, taking advantage of the incentives for reducing turtle mortality that are introduced by the cap and trade auction system.