By Sarah Poon
Territorial Use Rights for Fishing, or TURFs, have been in place for centuries in fishing communities around the world. In a TURF, fishery participants have a secure, exclusive privilege to fish in a defined area. Many fishery policy experts view TURFs and catch share programs as separate options for managing fisheries. TURFs are a type of catch share, since the area-based privileges assigned under a TURF provide the same rewards for stewardship as quota-based privileges.
In recent decades fishery managers have channeled the historical successes of this approach by formally recognizing customary TURFs, applying them to more fisheries and experimenting with modern adaptations.
Community-based territorial rights that have existed for centuries are now formally recognized by national law in Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Palau. Empowered by national law promoting traditional community-based management, the Safata District of Samoa implemented a district-wide TURF in 2000. Bylaws developed by the community manage members’ fishing efforts and limit outsiders’ access. Safata’s leaders have further improved biological performance by establishing a network of no-take reserves. With a formalized role in management, the district has received strong community support, high regulatory compliance and increased abundance for important species.
TURF systems have been used in different types of fisheries, but they are particularly well-suited for managing near shore fisheries where there is a clear spatial range of fishing activity. While these systems are ideal for less mobile species that don’t move beyond TURF boundaries, they can also be designed for more mobile species. Read More
Congress is about to embark on a review of what has worked and what hasn’t in a law widely regarded as having halted overfishing in many American fisheries. Though we have made progress here in the United States, overfishing is wreaking havoc on the world’s oceans and the mismanagement of our fisheries is the chief cause. Recent peer reviewed science estimates that 64% of global fisheries are depleted below the levels required to sustain production.
Overfishing can lead to the loss of important species that can upend the balance of critical ocean food webs leading to the further degradation of our ocean. To save the ocean, we must end overfishing.
One of EDF’s missions is to rebuild global fisheries with the best possible solutions that serve both fishermen and fish so that future generations can enjoy sustainable seafood, fishermen can continue to fish profitably, and our seas are healthy and abundant. Peer reviewed and published scientific evidence and our decades of experience have shown that catch shares are one of the best solutions for rebuilding depleted fisheries both in the United States and globally. Read More
The California Fisheries Fund closed a new loan last month that will help a family fishing business pass the torch to the next generation.
Steve Fitz, captain of the F/V Mr. Morgan, will continue his family tradition operating the only commercial fishing operation in the United States that uses Scottish Seine gear, a selective and eco-friendly way to catch groundfish. Steve’s loan from the CFF helped him buy the Mr. Morgan from his uncle and start up Mr. Morgan Fisheries, a fishing business based in Half Moon Bay, specializing in sustainably harvested groundfish and Dungeness crab.
Mr. Morgan Fisheries is known for its sand dabs, Petrale sole and chilipepper rockfish—all species sustainably-managed under a catch share program. Like all other participants in this catch share program, the Mr. Morgan receives an individual fishing quota for several groundfish species that may be harvested throughout the year, with requirements for full accountability of every pound of fish harvested, and a human observer on every fishing trip. These new fishing practices guarantee there is no overfishing and Steve can use that message to market his fish with the 100% Federal At-Sea Monitoring No Overfishing Guaranteed label.
Steve Fitz grew up fishing with his father in New England before moving west and graduating from University of Denver with a degree in business. About eighteen years ago, he moved out to Half Moon Bay, California, to fish with his uncle, eventually becoming the captain of the F/V Mr. Morgan in 2000. Read More