Fish Banks An economic model to scale ocean conservation


  • Primary protein for 1.5 billion people
  • Over 200 million jobs
  • $100 billion global fishing industry


  • 90% of large predatory fishes are gone
  • 76% of fish stocks are fully or overexploited
  • Mismanagement costs $50 billion per year

A simple solution. Fish Banks™.

Fish Banks are no-take marine reserves that restore biodiversity and improve people’s lives.

Benefits to fishermen

More fish means increased income. This graph charts the rebuilding of Kenyan small-scale fisheries through a no-take marine reserve. [Worm et al. 2009]

Benefits to tourism

More fish means more tourism. Annual tourism revenue generated by a well protected marine reserve, $13 million (162,000 / sq km) [Sala et al. 2013]

See this National Geographic video on the benefits of marine reserves.


Fishers benefit from marine reserves after a few years, but the lack of financing during those build-up years prevented scaling marine reserves worldwide. Faced with this dilemma, a group of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum developed a new business model so that marine reserves would bring sufficient revenue to pay for themselves, finance short-term losses for fishers, and turn in a profit.

Want to create your own fish bank?

If you or your community is interested in creating your own fish bank, to bring your fish back and improve local livelihoods, Fish Banks can help you design and implement the appropriate financing models. Please contact us at

Fish Banks

An economic model to scale ocean conservation
© 2013 Dr. Enric Sala. All rights reserved. Fish Banks™ is a trademark of Dr. Enric Sala.