Catch share programs can improve fisheries environmental and economic performance and management, but only if properly designed and monitored. In October 2009, the Pew Environment Group released its catch shares report – Design Matters – that outlined important design elements that are essential in ensuring that catch share programs work when implemented as part of a comprehensive fisheries management approach. We have evaluated the final NOAA National Catch Share Policy (Policy) based on our recommendations from the Design Matters report. We are pleased to see that the Policy is a step in the right direction. However, we urge NOAA, as future catch share programs are developed, to emphasize the key role played by science-based annual catch limits (ACLs), thorough monitoring and adequate enforcement in ensuring the success of any catch share program.