This project explores the ability to use MPA monitoring data, collected by volunteer anglers, for improving fisheries management, particularly for fisheries that are “data poor” (i.e., have limited data). OPC funding provides support to continue angler research surveys for an additional two years, after which time there will be a seven-year record of catch data (e.g., fish abundances and sizes, among other things) within four Central Coast MPAs and associated reference sites. With these data, researchers will assess effects of the MPAs on key nearshore species, in terms of fish sizes, abundance, species composition and, in some cases, fish growth and movements. In addition to these MPA monitoring objectives, researchers will use the fishery-independent dataset to populate (“run”) five new fishery models for setting catch limits. Output from these models will be analyzed and compared to catch limits calculated through traditional stock assessment models. “A management strategy evaluation” will examine the models’ performances through time and under various control rules, including bio-economic modeling to forecast long-term costs and benefits of different management actions. There will also be an effort to begin to resolve the “mismatch” in spatial scales at which stocks are assessed and fishing pressure applied. When such a disconnect occurs, it can lead to local depletions or under-utilizations of stocks. The highly localized angler survey data may shed light on how to manage stocks at the community level and/or most relevant spatial scales. Results and recommendations will be shared with state resource managers and the public.
Integrating the MLMA and MLPA—Developing New Ways to Manage California’s Nearshore Fisheries Using Catch Data from Marine Protected Area Monitoring