Wild capture fisheries supply food and jobs for hundreds of millions of people across the globe. Yet an estimated 68% of global fisheries are overfished, contributing to food insecurity, economic impacts, and an erosion of biodiversity. Ocean health and sustainable fisheries both depend on effective fisheries management.

Effective management of fisheries requires three fundamental elements: data collection, stock assessment and implementation of effective rules and regulations. Innovative approaches and technological solutions such as data-limited assessments, electronic monitoring, and co-management can address these needs, but have yet to be scaled broadly.

California fisheries supply more than 250 species of local seafood. The Conservancy aims to ensure these fisheries are managed sustainably with cutting edge approaches and technology that improve the environmental and economic performance of fisheries, protect habitats and vulnerable species, reduce bycatch, and serve as a model for global fisheries management reform. 

Science in Action

Marine | Technology | Science

Closing the Abalone Data Gap

Can putting technology in the hands of citizen scientists transform how abalone are managed?

Marine | Planning | Science

FishPath

How can we help small-scale and data-limited fisheries manage their resource sustainably?

2016 | Marine | Technology | Science | Video

Sustainable Management of Abalone Fishery in California

The Nature Conservancy, Jono Wilson

California fisheries, like the red abalone fishery, are facing increasing environmental variation and uncertainty due to climate change, complicating the sustainable management of commercial and recreational fisheries and threatening the resilience of fishing communities. To better manage these resources, better data is needed. In this video,…


2015 | Marine | Science | Video

Science for Nature and People Partnership: Data-Limited Fisheries Working Group

The Nature Conservancy, Jono Wilson

There are thousands of fisheries around the globe that lack the infrastructure, capacity, resources and management techniques to perform conventional assessments and management. We know that fisheries that get measured—that have stock assessments performed—are typically better managed, including increased regulation and enforcement. Conversely, when fisheries…


2015 | Freshwater | Marine | Publications & Reports

Climate mediates hypoxic stress on fish diversity and nursery function at the land–sea interface

Brent B. Hughes, Matthew D. Levey, Monique C. Fountain, Aaron B. Carlisle, Francisco P. Chavez, Mary G. Gleason

This comprehensive study of a major California estuary documents the links between nutrient runoff from coastal land use, the health of the estuary as a nursery for young fish, and the abundance of fish in an offshore commercial fishery. The researchers assembled long-term data sets…


2013 | Marine | Publications & Reports

A Transactional and Collaborative Approach to Reducing Effects of Bottom Trawling

Gleason M, Feller EM, Merrifield M, Copps S, Fujita R, Bell M, Rienecke S, Cook C

On the Central Coast of California, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, local fishers and local, state, and federal authorities worked collaboratively to protect large areas of the seafloor from bottom trawling for groundfish while addressing economic impacts of trawl closures. This paper aims to…


2013 | Marine | Economics | Publications & Reports

Fort Bragg Central Coast Risk Pool Annual Summary Report 2012

Kate Labrum, Dwayne Oberhoff

In 2011, the west coast groundfish fishery transitioned into a catch share fishery, or Individual Fishing Quota management system. Under this type of management system, the annual total allowable catch is divided into shares, or quota, and allocated to individual fishermen. This report describes a…


2013 | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Central Coast Trawl Impact and Recovery Study: 2009-2012 Final Report

James Lindholm, Mary Gleason, Donna Kline, Larissa Clary, Steve Rienecke, Michael Bell

This report summarizes the results of a multi-year study (June 2009 to December 2012) to assess the impacts of bottom trawling on seafloor habitats and associated biological communities. This project used small foot-rope trawl gear in an experimental study conducted in unconsolidated, soft-sediment habitat on…


2012 | Marine | Planning | Science | Maps & Webmaps

California Coastal and Marine Program: Protecting Fish Stocks and Livelihoods

Matt Merrifield, Megan Webb, Katie Andrews

Since 2007, The Nature Conservancy has pioneered a first-of-its-kind fishery reform approach that aligns communities, the fishing industry, and conservation interests to drive strategic changes in fishery management and harvest practices. We have provided science and planning expertise and applied technology to increase efficiency and…


2012 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Restoring Salmon Habitat: Garcia River Forest

Jennifer Carah, Jason Pelletier

A two-page summary of salmon restoration efforts at the Garcia River Forest on the North Cost of California focusing on the reintroduction of wood in streams as a strategy.


2012 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Video

Saving Salmon One Log at a Time

The Nature Conservancy, Jennifer Carah

Salmon and trout thrive in streams with cool water, low levels of sand and silt, and deep, shaded pools. Intensive forest management in California over the last 150 years led to the removal of these streamside trees, eliminating the cover that salmon depend upon. Restoration…


2012 | Marine | Planning | Publications & Reports

Near-term priorities for the science, practice, and policy of Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

Halpern, B.S., Diamond, J., Gaines, S., Gelcich, S., Gleason, M., Jennings, S., Lester, S., Mace, A., McCook, L., McLeod, K., Napoli, N., Rawson, K., Rice, J., Rosenberg, A., Ruckelshaus, M., Saier, B., Sandifer, P., Sholtz, A., Zivian, A.

This paper informs emerging efforts to implement coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) in the United States, Europe and elsewhere around the world. In order to identify priority needs for significantly advancing CMSP, the authors—expertsexperts in the science, policy and practice of CMSP—developed recommendations for…


2011 | Freshwater | Marine | Planning | Publications & Reports

SalmonScape: Priorities for Conserving California’s Salmon and Steelhead Diversity

Jeanette Howard, Kirk Klausmeyer, Sally Liu

This report analyzed Chinook, coho salmon, and steelhead trout population and habitat data across California to identify a portfolio of places called the SalmonScape. SalmonScape identifies areas in California with the greatest potential for habitat restoration and protection, and where wild salmon also have the best…


2011 | Freshwater | Marine | Planning | Maps & Webmaps

SalmonScape map

Megan Webb, Jeanette Howard , Kirk Klausmeyer, Sally Liu

The Conservancy's SalmonScape is an analysis and map that analyzed and ranked the watersheds that support or contribute to salmon habitat in California based on where conservation efforts would have the best return-on-investment. The analysis helped coordinate and direct salmon conservation efforts across the state.


2009 | Marine | Publications & Reports

Are we missing the boat? Collaborative solutions for North American fish wars

Mary Gleason, Chuck Cook, Michael Bell, Erika Feller

This editorial highlights the polarization and lack of innovation in U.S. fisheries management, using the West Coast groundfish fishery as an example. The authores focus on the need for new models of collaboration among NGOs, fishermen, and regulators in order to create a brighter future for our…


2006 | Marine | Planning | Publications & Reports

Assessing gaps in marine conservation in California

Mary G. Gleason, Matt S. Merrifield, Chuck Cook, Audrey L. Davenport, Rebecca Shaw

This study is the first marine gap analysis for California. It quantifies what is protected and what is not and highlights conservation needs and opportunities. Less than 5% of marine habitats are within no-take or limited-take marine protected areas (MPAs) that afford a high level…