California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Marine Region Projects

Established in November 1997, the Marine Region is one of the seven CDFW regions that divide California into discrete, manageable areas. The Marine Region extends along the entire California coastline from border to border and approximately three nautical miles out to sea, including offshore islands. Through development of specific projects, staff provide for fisheries and habitat management, environmental review, and water quality monitoring statewide. The fourteen projects listed below exemplify the breadth and depth of Marine Region commitment to protecting, researching, and providing for the use of marine resources for each California resident and visitor.

Aquaculture and Bay Management Project (ABMP)

The ABMP focuses much of its research on the bays and estuaries of California, striving for ecosystem-based management through collaboration with universities, agencies, businesses, public stakeholders and fishermen. ABMP staff is committed to maintaining the health of wild and cultured marine species through disease monitoring and sustainable fisheries management. Staff participates in monitoring, assessment, and management of marine finfish and shellfish, including white seabass, Pacific oysters, abalone and Pacific herring.


View the Aquaculture and Bay Management Project website

Aquaculture and Bay Management Project (ABMP); Photo Credit: Ryan Bartling

Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) & Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Project

The CPS/HMS Project manages coastal pelagic species (Pacific sardine, Pacific mackerel, market squid, and other species) and highly migratory species (tunas, swordfish, sharks, and other species). Management activities and functions include collection and analysis of fishery data, assessment of species status, generation of management recommendations, and evaluation of existing regulations. CPS/HMS Project staff coordinates state management of CPS/HMS species with multiple state, national and international managing bodies.


View the CPS/HMS Project website

Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS)/Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Project

Diving Safety Program


The Diving Safety Program administers the compressed gas diving activities of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Program oversees dive planning, supports projects in the field, and provides ongoing training for more than 70 active divers statewide. Administered by the Department's Marine Region, the DSP has been an AAUS Organizational Member since 2000.


View the Diving Safety Program web page

Diving Safety Program

Groundfish Project


Through analyzing and reviewing fisheries data, project staff provides annual and in-season management options and recommendations to the Fish and Game Commission and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). Staff monitors and develops regulations for the commercial and recreational groundfish fisheries. "Groundfish" include rockfishes, flatfishes, roundfishes (including sablefish, cabezon, lingcod, and greenlings), and some sharks and skates. Staff also conducts and reviews stock assessments, and represents California fisheries on the PFMC Groundfish Management Team.


View the Groundfish Project website

Groundfish Project

Invertebrate Management Project

Invertebrate Management Project staff participates in data collection, monitoring, surveying, assessment, and management of commercial and recreational invertebrate fisheries occurring primarily in the nearshore environment. The project focuses on abalone, California spiny lobster, Dungeness crab, clams, red sea urchin, sea cucumbers, and other tidal invertebrates. Project biologists collaborate with fishermen, industry groups, NGOs, and other researchers on a broad range of activities related to California's invertebrate species.


View the Invertebrate Management Project website

Invertebrate Management Project

Marine Fisheries Statistical Unit (MFSU)

MFSU staff collects, processes, and audits commercial fishery landings data, including landing receipts, commercial passenger fishing vessel logbooks, spiny lobster logbooks, and transportation receipts. The MFSU works closely with CDFW biologists and enforcement staff to monitor these data and ensure compliance is achieved. MFSU staff provides landing data and statistics to various governmental agencies, consulting firms, courts, fishermen and the general public.

Marine Fisheries Statistical Unit (MFSU)

Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Project

Charged with implementing the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), MPA Project staff work in a public-private partnership to support the planning and implementation of a statewide network of MPAs. Staff works in collaboration with multi-interest stakeholder groups, provides feedback on MPA proposals, works with inter-agency scientists and policymakers, provides public outreach, and assists the overall MLPA implementation process. Staff also works on the long-term evaluation, monitoring, and enforcement of MPAs.


View the California Marine Protected Areas website

Marine Protected Area (MPA) Project

Marine Region Administration & License Sales Project

This project is designed to enhance the working relationship between CDFW staff and the public by providing administrative guidance and support. Project staff provides the framework that guides CDFW staff through day-to-day business dealings, including but not limited to: facilities and contract management, license sales, and personnel transactions. Project staff helps to ensure conformance with State laws and CDFW policies as CDFW staff work to accomplish their projects' objectives.

Marine Region Administration & License Sales Project

Northern and Central California Finfish Research and Management Project

formerly State Finfish Management Project

Project biologists participate in data collection and analysis, research, monitoring, surveying, and other management activities related to state-managed finfish species, including surfperches (especially barred surfperch), California halibut, kelp bass, and hagfish. Information gathered from fishery-independent and fishery-dependent sources may contribute to stock assessments, developing management options, and public informational aids (such as pamphlets) for state-managed finfish.


View the Northern and Central California Finfish Research and Management Project website

Northern and Central California Finfish Research and Management Project

Ocean Salmon Project (OSP)

The Ocean Salmon Project provides fishery-dependent and -independent data for managing California's ocean salmon fisheries. The project produces annual estimates of ocean salmon harvest, fishery effort, ocean abundances, and fishery impacts on stocks of special concern. OSP staff collaborates with CDFW's Fisheries Branch and the California Recreational Fisheries Survey, and provides technical assistance to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the California Fish and Game Commission, NOAA Fisheries, tribal governments, and constituents.


View a summary of California ocean salmon seasons

Ocean Salmon Project (OSP)

Project Review/Water Quality Unit

Project Review/ Water Quality Unit staff reviews activities that impact marine habitat and resources, such as dredging, new construction, and wave energy. The Unit works towards conserving, restoring, mitigating and protecting habitats and waters critical to California's marine and estuarine resources. Unit staff also works with other agencies to identify and eradicate invasive marine species. Staff ensures CESA and CEQA compliance, and provides technical assistance during various council, committee, commission and science team meetings.

Project Review/Water Quality Unit

Recreational Fishing Data Project (RFDP)

RFDP staff participates in gathering, reviewing, analyzing and presenting recreational fishery data for state and federal recreational fishing regulatory activities. Staff supports the California Recreational Fisheries Survey and other recreational fishery information surveys, edits the Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel logbook database, and participates in developing recreational fisheries data collection protocols on an interstate level.


View the Recreational Fishing Data Project website

Recreational Fishing Data Project (RFDP)

Research Vessel Operations Project (RVOP)

RVOP staff provides and maintains platforms for collecting data at sea. CDFW research vessels currently include a variety of boats ranging from the 45-ft. R/V Garibaldi to several small, inflatable boats. Vessels can be adapted for a wide variety of research, including abalone and finfish surveys, and kelp forest monitoring. RVOP staff also supports research by other CDFW and non-CDFW partners through use of Marine Region vessels.

Research Vessel Operations Project (RVOP)

Southern California Fisheries Research & Management Project

Project staff uses fishery-independent methods including scuba to gather data from nearshore environments. The project goal is to provide information to improve management of nearshore resources. Staff activities include data collection for stock assessments, evaluation of marine protected areas, monitoring of important fished species and their habitats, and determination of life-history parameters for various species. Southern California Fisheries Research & Management Project staff often work collaboratively with other agencies, academic institutions, and the fishing community on large-scale monitoring and research efforts.


View the Southern California Fisheries Research & Management Project website

Southern California Fisheries Research & Management Project