California Fisheries Fund

Project Summary

The California Fisheries Fund (CFF) was established in 2008 to provide a stable, accessible source of capital to support California’s evolving harbor communities. Administration of the fund recently transitioned from the Environmental Defense Fund to the Northern California Community Loan Fund.

CFF is a revolving loan fund that supports sustainable commercial fisheries in California. It’s mission is to help borrowers succeed in fisheries that achieve environmental conservation, improved profitability for the industry, and stability for port communities. CFF loans enable improved scientific information, enhanced stewardship of fish stocks and habitats, better fishery jobs, improved profitability, and revitalized, sustainable coastal communities.

CFF provides loans to California fishermen, seafood businesses, ports and communities to support sustainable commercial fishing. The Fund was developed in response to the lack of traditional capital available for financing improvements in fishery management, processing, and marketing that, in turn, could enhance conservation, profitability, and viability of fishing communities. Historically, banks and credit unions have been mostly unwilling to provide loans to commercial fishermen due to the potential for marginal profits and the general unpredictability of the fishing industry representing a higher risk of supporting fishing communities through loans. The CFF model is unique in that is allows fishermen to use fishing boats, permits and Pacific groundfish quota as collateral. This allows for the use of a powerful new asset that can be securitized in order to access capital supporting both environmental and economic benefits.

The following are example uses of loan funds:

  • Vessel purchase
  • Vessel/gear upgrades
  • Purchase of fishing permits
  • Working capital
  • Non-vessel equipment
  • Dockside infrastructure
  • Purchase or lease of Pacific groundfish quota

cff_logoSince its initiation a decade ago, the Fund has revolved 1.4 times and provided 38 loans to 27 borrowers. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $300,000, with an average approved loan amount of $128,000. In total, CFF has loaned $4.8 million to California fishing communities. Please visit the California Fisheries Fund website for more information and contact the Northern California Community Loan Fund if you are interested in applying for a loan.



Project Timeline:   May 2018 – May 2031 (Northern California Community Loan Fund)

                                  October 2007 – May 2018 (Environmental Defense Fund)

Grant Amount:     $1,356,198 (January 2018 reauthorization)

                                  $2,000,000 (March 2007 authorization)

Funding Source:   Proposition 84


California Ocean Protection Act (COPA) states that monies deposited in the Ocean Protection Trust Fund may be expended to foster sustainable fisheries through “the creation of revolving loan programs for the purpose of implementing sustainable fishery projects” (COPA Section 35650 (b)(C)(v)). The California Fisheries Fund directly fulfills this purpose.

Kelp Rockfish (Michael Job)

About the CFF Administrator: the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF):
NCCLF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) whose mission is to promote economic justice and alleviate poverty by increasing the financial resilience and sustainability of community-based nonprofits and enterprises. NCCLF is advancing a food lending program to bring grocery stores, markets and other innovative forms of healthy food retail and distribution, and to establish and support sustainable local food systems, to communities that do not have them.

Relevant Links


Return to Sustainable Fisheries homepage

The California Coastal Mapping Program

The California Coastal Mapping Program is a comprehensive effort to combine seafloor mapping data with shoreline data to create seamless onshore-offshore maps of California’s coastline.


The coastal area of California is diverse, ranging from towering coastal bluffs to dense urban development and rolling pastoral lands. Immediately offshore, the underwater topography is equally varied with deep canyons, seamounts, and small shelves extending from the shoreline.

Accurate maps and recorded data on  are essential to ensuring the California’s marine and coastal areas are understood and effectively managed.  California’s coastal region is home to numerous existing and proposed activities and sea level rise and climate change impacts will change the coast as we know it. With such a myriad of interests, uses, and potential impacts, the OPC is taking a leading role to record the coastal area and ensure important geospatial data are available to resource agencies.

The California Coastal Mapping Program has three major initiatives under way to achieve this objective:

The CGDME was started in 2009 to identify and promote sharing of datasets needed by the numerous state agencies with coastal and ocean interests, such as the Department of Fish and Game, the California Coastal Commission, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the State Lands Commission, and California State Parks. Datasets from federal agencies may also be incorporated into an interactive and accessible tool or framework designed to provide relevant data to resource managers, scientists, and the public for improved decision-making.

Integrating these three initiatives is a long-term goal. The topographic mapping data can be merged with the seafloor mapping data to produce a seamless onshore-offshore map that would greatly enhance the understanding and management of the coastal area. This modern high-resolution map can form the baseline map of any coastal geospatial decision-support tool. Following this integration, the OPC and California will be better prepared to:

  • Better understand and mitigate the impacts from sea level rise
  • Evaluate sites for renewable ocean energy and aquaculture projects
  • Better understand sediment transport and sand delivery
  • Ensure vessel safety
  • Help identify tectonic faults and fault dynamics
  • Forecast storm inundation and coastal erosion
  • Better understand coastal earthquakes and tsunami potential
  • More effectively regulate offshore coastal development
  • Contribute to the federal process of Marine Spatial Planning
  • Quantify cumulative impacts for different activities in the same location
  • Identify key habitats that should be prioritize for protection

For example, the OPC funded a study to project inundation and erosion impacts from future sea level rise; however, the mapping data available for this project was less than optimal. In the future, such data will be readily available to anyone and will set the stage for a better understanding of our coastal and marine environment and how humans interact with this landscape.


Promoting Applied Ocean Research

Promoting Applied Ocean Research

Solving complex ocean resource problems requires scientific understanding of how ocean and coastal ecosystems function. The OPC strives to bridge the gaps between scientists, the public, and resource managers by supporting applied scientific research and the translation of data into usable information.applied.vt

The OPC integrates and utilizes existing scientific information in many ways. Working with the Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT), the OPC ensures that the best available science is applied to OPC policy decisions.  The OPC-SAT is coordinated by the California Ocean Science Trust (OST) and co-chaired by the OST Executive Director. One of the OPC-SAT’s fundamental functions is evaluating the technical merit of scientific projects by suggesting experts to serve as peer reviewers for OPC proposals and products. In coordination with OPC staff, the OPC-SAT also develops yearly research priorities.  Finally, to keep the OPC at the cutting edge of ocean and coastal research, the OPC-SAT identifies critical emerging science issues for OPC consideration, which are used by the council to inform future meeting themes, projects, and workshops.

To support new science, the OPC funds applied ocean research projects that correspond to the priorities proposed by the OPC-SAT. These research projects are solicited and chosen in partnership with the UC Sea Grant program and USC Sea Grant Program in California. Recent years have seen the development of an innovative funding approach: the Focused Research and Outreach Initiative. The goal is to promote well-coordinated, interdisciplinary programs of applied research and training focusing on a priority research topic. The research funded through the Sea Grant programs includes projects on international ecosystem-based management of fishery resources in the Southern California Bight, groundfish assemblages on offshore petroleum platforms on the San Pedro Shelf, and the impacts of ocean acidification on economically important shellfish species.


Related Projects

  • California Ocean Science Trust Science Integration
  • Marine Protected Areas Monitoring Enterprise