MPAs in California’s Central Coast region, which includes all state waters from Pigeon Point to Point Conception, were implemented on September 22, 2007 under the Marine Life Protection Act.
Sharing Monitoring Results
Results from the Central Coast Baseline monitoring program are now accessible in a new summary report: State of the California Central Coast: Results from Baseline Monitoring of Marine Protected Areas 2007-2012, California Ocean Science Trust and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California, USA. February 2013.
This report was produced by OST's Monitoring Enterprise team working in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and in collaboration with the Central Coast MPA Baseline Program Principal Investigators as well as many other partners and colleagues in the region. The report is available as a PDF and is also being hosted as an 'E-Book' on OceanSpaces. The E-Book format allows you begin with the summary results and then dive deeper into interactive graphics, videos and raw data. It is designed to provide a richer understanding of the results, as well as of the community who conducted the monitoring.
Baseline results were also shared at a public symposium, State of the California Central Coast, held February 27 – March 1, 2013 in Monterey, CA. Presentations and panel discussions can be viewed on OceanSpaces. We continue to work closely with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Central Coast baseline project researchers and other partners to share baseline results with policy-makers, resource managers, stakeholders and scientists. The results will be formally presented to the Fish and Game Commission in late Spring 2013 to inform the adaptive management of the regional MPA network.
Academic, agency and citizen scientists studied a range of ecosystems including kelp forests, rocky shores and deep reefs to document patterns in marine life populations and communities through the Central Coast region. Patterns of human use, including commercial and recreational fishing, were also documented. The scientific data gathered, and analysis conducted, add up to the most detailed picture created of current ocean conditions along California's Central Coast. The baseline results serve as a valuable reference point for examining future changes and evaluating the effectiveness of MPA management.
Key findings from monitoring indicate that the Central Coast MPAs are on track. In kelp forests and on nearshore reefs, a range of economically important fish species including cabezon, lingcod, and black rockfish increased in relative abundance in MPAs compared to reference areas. Numbers and sizes of protected black abalone and harvested owl limpets increased inside MPAs, suggesting protection from fishing pressure, increased compliance with MPA regulations and/or effective MPA enforcement.
In addition, fishing remains an integral part of the Central Coast ocean economy. Monitoring results show limited effects and that the local ocean economy has responded, in part, by broadening to include more non-consumptive activities. For example, a shift in activities, such as whale watching tours, demonstrates adaptation and resilience in the industry.
Ongoing monitoring is essential to evaluate the performance of the MPA network and inform ocean management. With the baseline results in hand, the first step will be to update the Central Coast regional monitoring plan ensuring that we incorporate new understanding of marine ecosystems and updated management priorities for the region. In Summer 2013, we will launch a collaborative monitoring planning and implementation project , working with our state partners and the many citizen and academic monitoring groups in the region to build a partnerships-based Central Coast monitoring program that will support the next turn of the adaptive management cycle.
- Data and results from MPA monitoring projects in California are available on OceanSpaces, an online community platform for staying informed, sharing information and communicating among the diverse audiences interested in the health of California’s oceans.
- As part of the Central Coast Baseline Program, Ecotrust completed an up-to-date socioeconomic study of key commercial fisheries and the commercial passenger fishing vessel (CPFV) fleet in 2012. The purposes of this project were to establish a benchmark of starting conditions against which future MPA impacts and benefits can be measured, and to explore any initial changes that followed MPA implementation. An executive summary and full report (with appendix) are now available.
- For a map and other information about the Central Coast MPAs, including boundary coordinates and regulations, see the California Department of Fish and Game website.
- A monitoring plan for this region was completed prior to the creation of the Monitoring Enterprise, and can be found in Appendix O of the MLPA Master Plan.
- Initial reports describing baseline MPA monitoring in the Central Coast include California's Central Coast MPA Baseline Data Summary Report, Monitoring MPAs in Deep Water Off Central California—Submersible Baseline Survey, Monitoring MPAs by SCUBA in Waters off Central California 2007-2008, and The Central Coast MPA Socioeconomic Baseline Data Collection Project.