Catch Together Case Study

Martha’s Vineyard

Catch Together led the purchase of $2.8 million in scallop quota, of which a third was bought by the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust and 2/3 was purchased by a number of small-scale, independent fishing businesses on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.


The Investment

Community Partner

Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust

Investment Thesis

By building permit banks to support small-scale, independent fishermen, Catch Together cultivates local fishing leaders and stewardship of ocean resources.

Catch Together Role

Business planning, Quota Acquisition, Financial Modeling, Deal Structure, Deal Term Negotiation, Securing financing (debt and grants).  


Atlantic Sea Scallop Quota


Transaction Size

$2.8 million total

$950,000 with the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust

Investment Objectives

  • Strengthen three to five Martha’s Vineyard fishing businesses and retain 12-20 good fishing jobs.
  • Encourage scallop vessels to bring their catch to Martha’s Vineyard, thereby delivering fresh dayboat scallops to local markets and consumers.
  • Develop “deck to dock” marketing program for dayboat fresh scallops.
  • Encourage sustainable fishing methods.
  • Create scientific research opportunities to team with university and government experts targeting conservation and industry challenges.

The Story

Less than 30 years ago, the Martha’s Vineyard fleet was catching healthy amounts of swordfish, groundfish, lobster, and sea scallops. But in recent years, the fleet has struggled. The commercial fishing industry has to compete with yachts and pleasure boats for dockage space. Furthermore, these days commercial fishing requires expensive permits and quotas. Many of Martha’s Vineyard’s fishermen are approaching retirement, but the cost of starting a new fishing business makes it hard for young fishermen to step up and replace the retiring captains. 


Organization & Mission

The Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust is a non-profit established in 2011. Its mission is to preserve the Vineyard’s historic fishing community, protect marine populations, and educate the community about its local fisheries. The Trust has a full time Executive Director who works with local fishermen to keep an active fleet of scallop, lobster, seabass, and conch boats delivering fresh seafood to Vineyard ports. 


The Trust’s purchase and leasing of the scallop quota will enable fishermen to strengthen their businesses presence on the island, and in turn support strong fisheries management to protect their livelihoods. The scallop quota will also generate lease income to fund the Trust’s programming and market activities.

In Spring 2017, Catch Together worked with the Trust to buy nearly $950,000 in sea scallop quota and launch its permit bank. Catch Together supported the transaction with services for business planning, quota acquisition, financial modeling, deal structure, deal term negotiation, and securing the necessary funding through a combination of grants and low interest debt.   



Catch Together and the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust are very grateful to the Walton Family Foundation, the Fink Family Foundation, the Phil Stephenson Foundation, and the Woodcock Foundation in supporting their permit banking strategy and fishing community.

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