Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

The world's wild fish stocks are threatened by overfishing, destructive fishing practices, and environmental change. Wild stocks cannot support increased demand for seafood, so aquaculture production has increased dramatically in recent decades. Aquaculture has advantages compared to other protein sources, but it also raises environmental concerns, such as habitat loss, water pollution, and use of overfished stocks for feed.

ELI works to strengthen the legal and management frameworks needed for sustainable management of wild and farmed fish and shellfish resources. Whether focused on fisheries enforcement, offshore aquaculture policy, marine protected area management, or other topics, our work helps rebuild depleted stocks, ensures that fishing and aquaculture do not harm habitats or ecosystems, and preserves livelihoods over the long term both in the United States and around the world.

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Fisheries Compliance and Enforcement 

Enforcement of fisheries regulations is crucial to ensure that noncompliance does not undermine fishery management or rebuilding. ELI takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding compliance and enforcement that combines our legal and enforcement expertise with quantitative analysis of fisheries surveys and enforcement data. Our work identifies models and strategies for improving fisheries enforcement and integrating enforcement into management decisions.

Seafood Certification

Certification allows consumers to select more sustainable seafood products, providing incentives for producers around the world to improve their practices. Unless certification systems are credible, however, they may not provide the advertised benefits. ELI evaluates the institutional design of seafood certification systems to ensure that they meet the minimum standards for credibility.

International Fisheries and Aquaculture Management

Fish and shellfish are an important protein source and economic driver in the developing world, but management is a challenge where resources and capacity are limited. Whether developing management frameworks for community-led fisheries in Kenya, building capacity for marine protected area enforcement in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, or working on global solutions for aquaculture co-management, we work with local groups to support development of effective laws and regulations for responsible fisheries and aquaculture management and development.