California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Response to the California Fish and Game Commission Request for Information


In a letter to the Department (dated January 1, 2002), Commission President Mike Chrisman requested that the Department provide information on selected species and the projected benefits for each of those species that would result from their inclusion in marine protected areas (MPAs). For the species listed below, the Department was asked to evaluate and describe a) the status of the population and, if known, the Department's best professional opinion as to whether the population is stable, increasing, or decreasing, and why it may require additional protections; b) the traditional fishery management measure enacted at the state and federal levels that have been implemented for the species, including all size and possession limits, quotas, optimum yields, trip limits, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, effort reductions or permit limitations, for both commercial and recreational fisheries, and why these measures are inadequate; and c) exactly what other benefits MPAs are expected to afford the species. Examples of MPAs in the state that have demonstrated effects (such as a larger population inside than outside the reserve) were also requested.

This information was requested for the following species:

  1. Kelp and sand bass
  2. Abalone
  3. Black seabass
  4. White seabass
  5. Shelf rockfish
  6. Nearshore rockfish
  7. Sheephead, cabezon, greenling (kelp and rock)
  8. Garibaldi
  9. Sea urchins
  10. Lobster
  11. Corbina/surfperches
  12. Crabs
  13. Halibut
  14. Ocean whitefish
  15. Kelp

This report provides information in response to this request from the Commission. Where possible, the Department used information contained in the recently published "California's Living Marine Resources: A Status Report" (Leet et al. 2001), since this publication represents current information available on these species, including status, fishery related information, and in some cases, suitability for inclusion in marine reserves. Additional details requested by the Commission were added for each species as necessary and available. In addition to this report, the Environmental Document for the Channel Islands Marine Reserves process also details information about these and other species relative to their population status, fishery information, and benefits and costs associated with the establishment of marine protected areas, primarily marine reserves, in that area.

Marine Protected Areas and Potential Benefits to Selected Species

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General Background on Marine Protected Areas

Literature Cited