Establishing a statewide baseline and long-term MPA monitoring program for commercial and CPFV fisheries in the state of California

Project Number
Project Date Range
Funding Agency
California Ocean Protection Council (OPC)
Focus Area(s)
Healthy Coastal Ecosystems, Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

Understanding the impacts and effects of MPAs on California’s coastal communities is challenging due to the complex interplay between people and coastal ecosystems. Socioeconomic monitoring can provide a comprehensive understanding of changes in fishing patterns and fisherman well-being over space and time. The collection of these data helps inform the adaptive management of MPAs so they maximize their ecological, economic, and sociocultural benefits while minimizing potentially negative socioeconomic impacts.

This project addressed three primary components: (1) engagement with stakeholders, such as fishermen, researchers, and resources managers; (2) focus groups with members of California's commercial fishing and commercial passenger fishing vessel (or charter fishing) communities; and (3) geospatial modeling to explore commercial fishing activity inside and outside MPAs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual focus groups were held with commercial and charter fisherman to inform how California’s MPA network affects the economic and social aspects of life for fishing communities along the coast. 

The project team gathered robust data on port community well-being and attitudes and perceptions of MPA impacts. The virtual focus group technique is a viable and cost-effective data collecting methodology for long-term MPA monitoring. Data collected during this project were used to establish an understanding of stakeholder sentiments that will be used as a baseline to measure future changes and fishing effort for pre/post MPA evaluation statewide. 

The team also created a website designed to showcase the nuances of stakeholder perspectives.  A full presentation of the key project findings and the data products/deliverables can be found on the project website.


Final Report_MPA LTM Human Uses Study_Bonkoski et al._December2021.pdf

Principal Investigators
Co-principal Investigators
Cheryl Chen
Future of Fish
profile photo of Laurie Richmond Laurie Richmond
Cal Poly Humboldt
Kelly Sayce
Strategic Earth Consulting

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