Abrupt shifts in natural resources and their markets are a ubiquitous challenge to human communities. Building resilient social-ecological systems requires approaches that are robust to uncertainty and to regime shifts. Harvesting diverse portfolios of natural resources and adapting portfolios in response to change could stabilize economies reliant on natural resources and their markets, both of which are prone to unpredictable shifts.

After a long history of overexploitation, increasing efforts to restore marine ecosystems and rebuild fisheries are under way. Here, we analyze current trends from a fisheries and conservation perspective. In 5 of 10 well-studied ecosystems, the average exploitation rate has recently declined and is now at or below the rate predicted to achieve maximum sustainable yield for seven systems.