Over the past several decades, California has implemented two major pieces of legislation to improve management of our local marine ecosystem: the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) to improve fishery management, and the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) to implement a network of marine protected areas (MPAs). In spite of various meetings and efforts to manage these as a unified whole, they continue to be regarded as functionally different entities, often working at cross purposes as far as management goes.
Adaptive management, called for by both MLMA and MLPA, involves making predictions about the expected outcomes of a management action, monitoring the system to determine if expectations are met, and then adjusting management (or the predictive model) if expectations are not met.
One way to better integrate the MLMA and MLPA would be to take advantage of existing data that could help quantify the benefits of MPAs to fisheries and be used into adaptive management. In this project, the researchers aim to develop new life history models to address adaptive management of the contribution of MPAs to fisheries yield outside the MPAs. They will also use the same life history information to quantify one of the benefits of MPAs to fished populations that is often mentioned, but not quantified: the increase in resilience to environmental variability, including climate change. They will use the results to develop new means of presenting information on the integrated effects of the MLPA and the MLMA on the status of fished populations for use in the California Fisheries Portal.