Fish Smarter, Not Harder
Globally, 1 in 7 people survive on fish for protein, yet our fisheries are in collapse. Starting in Morro Bay, we’re proving successful fishery reform comes from empowering the local communities who have the most at stake.
Collaborate with Fishermen
In San Luis Obispo County, generations of fishermen in Morro Bay have relied on a healthy ocean for their livelihood, but in 2000 the collapsing fishery was declared a national disaster. Enter The Nature Conservancy.
In 2006, we carried out a private and voluntary buy-out of boats and fishing permits from those who wanted out in exchange for their participation in developing no-trawl closures. This resulted in 3.8 million acres of habitat protection off California’s Central Coast. We then put the permits back to work. Fishermen partnered with scientists to test new fishing gear and use iPads to share real time catch information across boats to help fishermen avoid endangered and overfished species.
Restore Our Ocean's Health
Fishermen are proving they can protect sensitive fish species while meeting their bottom line. A risk pool was established where fishermen collaborated with scientists to map where to fish to avoid bycatch. These fishermen “pool” their quota to share in the risk if and when they catch too many overfished species. It’s working! Together, they have lowered their bycatch rate by 65% and increased their catch of target species by 40% compared to the rest of the fleet. All while keeping millions in the local community.
Fishing's Triple Bottom Line:
Economy, Community & Environment
This model is so effective, this June we transferred fishing rights to The Morro Bay Community Quota Fund, a nonprofit formed by fishermen, scientists and leaders in the community, securing permanent, local access to groundfish and ensuring the long-term viability of fishing in this small town.
Next Stop: Fort Bragg, then the world
This successful model started in Morro Bay and is rapidly spreading up and down the Pacific Coast. It just might be the way to save fisheries everywhere.
Next stop: Fort Bragg.