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New Tool Provides Insights into Effective Fisheries Management

November 20, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Fisheries Governance Tool (FGT), a comprehensive, evidence-based diagnostic tool, was released so that fishery managers, environmental organizations, funders, investors, and other key stakeholders can understand how a country’s fisheries management system is performing, track progress against sustainability goals, identify gaps and challenges, and set targets for continued improvement.

“Healthy fish are the key to healthy oceans. It’s important for fishery managers and fishers to both understand what the baseline is in their fisheries, and then get clear on what they are trying to achieve. This tool helps them do that, so that they will continue to have healthy fish populations and healthy seafood businesses,” said Moira Mcdonald, director of the Walton Family Foundation’s Environment Program.

MRAG Americas is pleased to have been part of the development of this novel fisheries evaluation tool. This tool is freely available and the system draws on existing knowledge and experience. It allows fishers and regional fishery managers to see the connection between policy choices and progress on the waterfront and identify specific elements of good management that work for their fisheries,” said Graeme Parkes, executive vice president of MRAG Americas.

The FGT puts power in the hands of managing agencies, environmental organizations, funders/investors, and other key stakeholders. Importantly, the FGT allows stakeholders to designate user-defined objectives such as those in their country’s own policy and management plans, rather than against an external standard that may not be relevant or achievable.

Stakeholders can conduct their own comprehensive – and reproducible – assessment of a nation’s fisheries governance structure and capacity; evaluate the performance of a nation’s fisheries management system as a whole, at a point in time, and track progress toward selected targets; assess and track progress among key individual fisheries and relate it to the country’s governance structure and capacity; identify gaps in fisheries governance, capacity and management performance, which will help isolate emerging trends, issues, or topics of concern related to fisheries management outcomes.

MRAG Americas, a U.S.-based independent private consulting and auditing company specializing in the conservation of marine and freshwater ecosystems, led the development of the FGT. The Microsoft Excel-based tool is free to download at, with versions available in three languages: English, Spanish, and Indonesian Bahasa.

About the Walton Family Foundation The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2019, the foundation awarded more than $525 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.