Phoebe Higgins

Director, California Fisheries Fund


Areas of expertise:
Sustainable business, catch shares, small business lending

Phoebe Higgins is the Director of Environmental Defense Fund’s California Fisheries Fund (CFF), a revolving loan program launched with government and private partners in 2008 to promote sustainable fishing and rebuild the West Coast’s struggling fisheries. 

Her work focuses on initiating loans to fishermen and seafood businesses that are participating in sustainable fisheries, such as the new groundfish catch share program that launched in January of 2011. CFF investments range from loans for fishing vessels, gear, and fishing permits, to infrastructure and working capital. So far over $3 million has been loaned to businesses on the West Coast.

In 2013, the California Fisheries Fund received the  California Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership award, “the highest environmental honor” in the state, in the category of environmental and economic partnerships. The program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable, voluntary contributions in conserving California’s precious resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, building public-private partnerships and strengthening the economy.


Prior to joining Environmental Defense Fund, Phoebe worked in commercial lending serving green businesses and nonprofit organizations. Phoebe also has several years’ experience as a community organizer focusing on social justice issues such as affordable housing, equity in education and voter participation.

She holds a B.A. in Russian from Carleton College and an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from the Green MBA program at Dominican University of California.