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California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program

…providing scientific data for fisheries management and evaluations of MPA performance.


CCFRP_Recreational_Ano_Nuevo_Westphall_Lingcod_Catch_Brennan_2012_6079LOWPhoto by Sabrina Brennan

Central California’s MPA 5-Year Review

click here for data analyses and interpretations


CCFRP Sampling AreasOn September 21, 2007, a series of 29 marine protected areas (MPAs) went into effect along the central California coast, representing approximately 204 square miles and roughly 18% of California’s state waters.  The Marine Life Protection Act (est. 1999) requires scientific monitoring of these MPAs in order to evaluate their effectiveness as a tool for conservation and fisheries management.  The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) was designed to do just that!

To  examine the effects of MPAs on local marine resources, CCFRP actively monitors four specific areas (Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area, Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Point Buchon State Marine Reserve).  Since 2007, CCFRP has utilized local charter boats and the help of numerous volunteer anglers to study these MPAs.  Standardized scientific methods that were developed during a workshop which incorporated input from academic scientists, marine resource managers and members of local fishing communities are used.  Nearby areas open to fishing, which contain similar habitat types and depth ranges, are also surveyed as reference sites – against which data taken from MPAs is compared.  By sampling the same areas and employing identical methods year after year, CCFRP will be able to detect long-term changes in nearshore fish populations from the region.  Because CCFRP surveys began the same year that these MPAs were established, initial differences in fish sizes and/or abundances are accounted for, unbiasing any inherent differences between protected and unprotected areas prior to 2007.  With continued sampling, CCFRP will be able to determine whether any changes in fished and unfished populations are due to differences in area, season, year or level of protection: important factors to take into account when assessing the effectiveness of marine reserves.


The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program has several goals:

  • conduct scientifically sound research to better inform resource managers
  • collaboratively work with local fishing communities to collect fisheries data
  • provide rigorous baseline/monitoring data for the evaluation of MPA performance
  • better understand nearshore fish stocks and the ecosystems upon which they rely
  • educate the public about marine conservation, stewardship and research

Additional Resources

2013 Project Updates
CCFRP Participant Handbook
MLPA Monitoring Plan
CCFRP Data / Reports
Volunteer Information
Internship Information
Tag Return Information
Commercial Trapping

Click here to learn about current efforts to monitor central California MPAs.

CCFRP is a partnership of people and communities interested in fisheries sustainability. By combining the expertise and ideas of fishermen and scientists, we have successfully established protocols to gather information for fisheries management. This project is a collaborative effort among researchers from CA Sea Grant at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) and SLOSEA/Center for Coastal Marine Sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as well as the captains and crew of F/Vs Admiral, Caroline, Fiesta, Huli Cat, New Captain Pete, Pacific Horizon, Patriot, Princess, Queen of Hearts, Rita G, Salty Lady and Tigerfish.

Check out our 2012 project updatesClick here to view the CCFRP Photo Gallery.

Additional Information