Project Report:
Safeguarding New England's Groundfish Fishery and Marine Ecosystem through Market-based Management Programs
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


New England's groundfish fishery is in dire need of recovery and reform, with many stocks overfished. Environmental Defense, along with partner groups, seeks to secure increased resources and provide expert advice for implementing a market-based management system of catch shares to improve the ecological and economic health of the fishery.


The momentum to transition to a catch share approach is still strong in the New England groundfish fishery. The grant from the Walker Foundation will help maintain that momentum by sharing the success story of the catch share system in the British Columbia groundfish fishery with New England fishermen. Environmental Defense Fund has experience conducting exchanges in British Columbia with fishermen from other regions (South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and California), connecting them with our extensive network in Canada. These field trips have helped US fishermen that we partner with to keep political momentum strong while answering critical questions about establishing and operationalizing catch share systems. We have reached out to a number of industry leaders in New England about this opportunity. They are enthusiastic to learn more about the BC approach and to see it first hand. Planning for this trip has begun and we expect to travel to BC in the late spring.

Fisheries News Article
Front page of the Fisheries News article on Foundation-sponsored site visit. For more information, see the attached article "Trip to BC an eye opener for NE fishermen".


Market-based fisheries management makes it possible to simultaneously protect the environment, increase profits, provide higher quality fish, create more full-time jobs, and save lives. By using a new market-based tool called catch shares, which provides an economic incentive and gives fishermen a stake in their fishery, the New England groundfish fishery can gain these benefits. This project seeks to help provide the groundwork necessary to implement a new market-based catch shares management program in the troubled New England groundfish fishery. With this proposal, Environmental Defense Fund—working with partners—seeks to help secure and help provide the resources necessary to design and implement a market-based management program for this significant fishery, setting an important precedent for other fisheries in New England and the nation.


The current state of America's fisheries is unacceptable. Poor resource management has led to many overfished stocks. The opportunity to transform America's fisheries into well managed, market-based catch share systems is now at hand. Enthusiasm for catch share programs is mounting among fishermen and managers; the required legislative framework is in place. In New England, fishermen have submitted applications for 17 new catch share based fishing cooperatives in the groundfish fishery alone. In addition to our work with these fishermen in the Northeast, Environmental Defense is working with fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico red snapper and grouper fisheries, the South Atlantic snapper grouper fishery, and the Pacific groundfish fishery to unlock the potential of catch shares and move those fisheries away from a tragedy of the commons towards a sustainably managed asset. Securing a catch share in the New England groundfish fishery will help set the tone for the region and the country.

Amount Approved
$25,000.00 on 11/27/2007 (Check sent: 12/4/2007)

  Related Organizations
Environmental Defense Fund  

Fishing village

Fishing village
"Trip to BC an eye opener for NE fishermen", Commercial Fisheries News, August 2008 (PDF)
Fisheries News Article

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Barbara A McCullough
Senior Foundations Officer, Environmental Defense
Jessica Morten
Development Assistant, Institutional Giving
Margaret Henkels
Foundations Officer
Robin Hinton
Institutional Giving Coordinator, Environmental Defense Fund
Sharon Nadel
Grant Writer

Posted 11/20/2007 5:59 PM
Updated   12/13/2012 5:28 PM

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