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Our work in fisheries

Overfishing is a serious problem: The majority of global stocks are fished hard, and many are crashing. But there is reason for hope.

EDF offers a different approach for recovery that works — it’s called catch shares.
See our 7-step guide on how catch shares work.

How we know catch shares restore fisheries

A recent study of fisheries in Canada and the U.S. showed that under catch shares:

  • The amount of fish allowed to be caught increased 19% over 10 years of catch shares.
  • Wasted fish (bycatch) decreased 66% over 10 years, meaning more fish in the ocean and healthier populations.
  • Fleet-wide revenues increased 68% after 10 years and fisherman safety improved three-fold.
  • Fishermen complied nearly 100% with catch limits—exceeding limits only five times in 86 seasons.

Spreading the word

Today, about 65% of all fish caught in U.S. federal waters are under catch shares. We’re working to bring this tool to more fisheries, both at home and abroad, by:

  • CONVINCING skeptical fishermen of the benefits of catch shares through educational field trips with other fishermen in catch share programs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
  • WORKING on the Hill to educate congressional staff on the value of catch shares.
  • PARTNERING with local groups in Belize and Mexico and empowering fishermen to improve their livelihoods and restore fish populations through catch shares.
  • SCALING UP our successful model to end overfishing in small-scale international fisheries

See more ways we’re expanding catch shares around the world »

We partner with fisherman to foster smarter management