Oceans policy and resources

School of fish

Globally, nearly a third of fish stocks are in trouble, and half produce less food, employment, economic value, and biodiversity than they could.

Three billion people worldwide rely on seafood as a key source of protein, and nearly 260 million people work in ocean fishing and related jobs, many in developing countries.

EDF is working on the ground in places like the United States, European Union, Mexico and Belize, where reforms are taking hold, as well as in Indonesia, Philippines, Cuba and other countries.

Our goal is to catalyze reforms in fisheries managed by 12 governments that together control 62 percent of the world’s catch. Reforms at this scale, when combined with the eight percent of fisheries already fully reformed, could tip the entire global fishing economy so that sustainable fishing takes hold worldwide.

Our theory of change hinges on designing solutions that meet the needs of policymakers, the fishing industry, fishermen and others who will help make global ocean recovery possible.

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. This resets fishermen’s’ incentives, so that conservation pays. EDF has been a leader in advancing this system of rights, responsibilities and rewards, which is known in the United States as “catch shares.” Because fishermen and fishing communities benefit financially as the fishery grows, they take ownership of recovery efforts.

Today, this pragmatic fishing solution is slowing and reversing overfishing, reviving coastal communities and bringing oceans back to life all around the world.

Media contact

  • Matthew Smelser
    (202) 572-3272 (office)
    (512) 731-3023 (cell)
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