In this collaborative fisheries research project, scientists will partner with charter boat fishing captains and volunteer anglers to characterize the baseline status of nearshore rocky reef fish assemblages in four of the region’s MPAs (Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area, South Cape Mendocino State Marine Reserve (SMR), Sea Lion Gulch SMR and Ten Mile SMR) and reference sites. This quantitative baseline data will describe the diversity, abundance, size structure and movement patterns of rocky reef fishes caught inside and outside of MPAs. The project will geographically expand upon an existing 2-year (2010-2011) data set on North Coast rocky reef fishes, enabling comparisons of fish communities before and after the MPAs went into effect in 2012. Unlike the earlier volunteer angler fish surveys, fish that are caught will be tagged and released at depth to enable studies of fish movement patterns across MPA boundaries. Researchers hope that by engaging local fishing communities in the research, they may establish a foundation for long-term collaborative monitoring and community involvement in marine resource management. Data from this project will complement other datasets collected by the other baseline monitoring projects to help evaluate placement, monitoring and overall effectiveness of the region’s MPAs.
Baseline Characterization of Nearshore Fish Communities Associated with Rocky Reef Habitats