Fisheries are complex, dynamic integrated social-ecological systems. As such, consideration of the human systems associated with fisheries individually and as they interact with one another is essential for effective management. California’s 1998 Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) specified socioeconomic as well as ecological goals and objectives for management of the state’s fisheries using a proactive, coordinated, holistic approach. The 2001 MLMA Master Plan identified specific socioeconomic “essential fishery information” (EFI) needed to support MLMA-based management. While the MLMA and the Master Plan signaled the need to include socioeconomic information in the management of California fisheries, they provided insufficient guidance on the scope of information needed and how to identify and address relevant questions and information needs. This has limited managers’ ability to effectively integrate socioeconomic information, evaluate management options, anticipate responses, achieve desired outcomes, and avoid unintended consequences.
This Guidance document seeks to assist the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in its efforts to identify, build, and incorporate socioeconomic information to support MLMA implementation and related fishery management. The Guidance is based on: an extensive review of state and federal fishery management policy; recent and ongoing socioeconomic research on various state- and federallymanaged fisheries; targeted conversations with knowledgeable individuals within and outside CDFW; and observation of stakeholder meetings related to fishery management.