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Environmental Defense Fund launches toolkit to help fishermen and managers

Manuals, guides and reports to design sustainable and profitable fisheries, including those with limited data

Environmental Defense Fund


IMAGE: Similar to dividing up a pie, a catch share fishery management program allocates a secure area or privilege to harvest a portion of the fishery's overall catch to an individual... view more

Credit: ©Environmental Defense Fund

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA --October 17, 2013) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today launched the world's most comprehensive toolkit for designing and implementing management systems that can restore the resiliency, sustainability and profitability of fisheries around the world. Visit

"Global overfishing is a 21st century problem that people have been trying to fix with 20th century solutions," said Kate Bonzon, Director of EDF's Catch Share Design Center. "Our toolkit provides low cost, cutting-edge and highly replicable solutions to help fishermen and fishery managers achieve economic and ecological recovery, even in fisheries lacking adequate data."

According to a recent study in Science, 80% of global fisheries lack important data for stock assessments, a critical first step toward sustainable fisheries. EDF's toolkit includes a guide dedicated to bridging this gap, providing fishermen and managers with key resources and expertise.

Developed in conjunction with more than 80 global experts, the toolkit reflects the experience of successful and diverse fisheries around the world. It highlights pragmatic solutions to pressing problems and provides guidance that fishermen and managers can use to navigate the administrative hurdles they often face.

"Each year, poor governance costs the global fishing industry as much as $50 billion," said Michael Arbuckle, Senior Fisheries Specialist for the World Bank. "EDF has developed a valuable tool that can help fisheries managers create economic and social benefits for the many fishers and communities dependent on the resource for their future."

The toolkit includes more than a dozen design, planning and educational features:

  • An updated Catch Share Design Manual that guides fishermen and fishery managers through a step-by-step process to design catch shares, an approach to managing fisheries that allocates secure areas or shares of the catch to participants
  • A dedicated volume on designing Cooperative Catch Shares, which includes in-depth guidance on effective co-management of fisheries
  • A dedicated volume on designing Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURFs), including new concepts for addressing the unique challenges of nearshore fisheries
  • Guides on science-based management for fisheries that have limited data and transferable effort share programs, a form of rights-based management that has served as a stepping stone towards more effective, long-term management solutions
  • More than a dozen in-depth reports on fisheries, from Samoa to Spain, that have customized catch shares to meet their goals
  • A searchable database of global catch share fisheries, accessed through an interactive map
  • "What's the Catch?," an online game that allows players to captain their own vessel and experience the ups and downs of commercial fishing

For decades, EDF has worked alongside fishermen and fishery managers to end overfishing by developing proven fishery management solutions.

"I needed advice on how to suggest management decisions for the Prawn fishery in Sweden and the design manual has been my guide," said Peter Olsson, a Swedish fisherman who catches Norwegian lobster and herring out of Smögen, Sweden.

"We believe access to helpful, easy-to-use tools is key to developing sustainable and profitable fisheries," said Amanda Leland, Vice President for EDF's Oceans Program. "And we want to ensure these tools are readily available to managers and fishermen around the world."


Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on our Oceans Twitter and Facebook, and follow our EDFish blog.

Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Share Design Center is a diverse team of global fishery experts who are dedicated to providing research-driven insight on improving fisheries management. From data to design, the center equips fisheries stakeholders with the tools and resources needed to create and maintain sustainable and profitable fisheries.

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