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Financing Fishery Transitions to Sustainability

September 2, 2014

EDF has put together this excellent video on the California Fisheries Fund, an innovative financial institution that has helped California fishermen finance their transition to sustainable fishing practices. It’s a great model, and it needs to be replicated elsewhere.

Update: Michael posted a great question as to what the loans are used for. Here’s a little more info.

As of June 2006, the fund has made 23 loans – ranging from $50,000 to $350,000 – that total more than $2.6 million. The permitted uses for the loans are:

  • Gear purchase or modification
  • Vessel purchases or improvements
  • Fishing permit or quota purchase
  • Capital equipment upgrades for dockside infrastructure, processing capacity and transportation
  • Working capital for business growth

If you’d like a brief case study, here’s an excerpt from a CFF briefing document:

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, CA, 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, Steve 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.

For more information on the program, check out the California Fisheries Fund website

2 Comments leave one →
  1. EARLE Michael permalink
    September 2, 2014 10:14 am

    Hi – Unfortunately, the video gives no information on what the loans are used for other than sometimes buying a vessel and some vague words about “sustainability”. So simply based on the video, it is difficult to evaluate the efficacy of the loans or to know how it is doing anything other than increasing capacity. Maybe it is good, but the video is not, at least to me, convincing.

    Michael Earle

    • September 2, 2014 10:56 am

      Good questions, Michael. I updated the posted with some additional information. I hope this helps!

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