Global Navigation Links

Moss Landing Marine Labs research faculty to reveal findings at State of the California Central Coast symposium, held this week in Monterey

February 27, 2013 - 9:10am - 10:45am

 By Brynn Hooton-Kaufman

On September 21, 2007, twenty-nine marine protected areas went into effect along California’s Central Coast.  Today, resource managers, policy makers, stakeholders and scientists will gather in Monterey to reflect on the past five years of monitoring and management of these areas that represent 18% of central California’s state waters. 

Marine protected areas (MPAs) were established off the Central Coast region to protect marine flora and fauna, habitats, and ecosystems, and improve recreation, education, and study opportunities that rely on these natural resources.   Their creation was required by the Marine Life Protection Act, which also mandated that they be scientifically monitored to evaluate their effectiveness. 

Talks given at the symposium will present these monitoring results, showing how tide pool communities, kelp forest inhabitants, and nearshore and deep-water fishes have fared over the past five years.  Two such presentations will be given by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories’ Dr. Rick Starr.  

Starr, MLML research faculty and California Sea Grant Extension Program Director, will team with Cal Poly’s Dean Wendt to present “Collaborative surveys of nearshore fishes in and around Central Coast MPAs.”  Another, “Baseline surveys of deep-water demersal communities in and near Central Coast MPAs” will be given together with National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Mary Yoklavich (an MLML graduate). 

Starr’s information about nearshore species was collected through the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP), a partnership among researchers at MLML and Cal Poly that uses local charter boats and volunteer anglers to study MPAs.  CCFRP actively monitors four of the MPAs: Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area, Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Point Buchon State Marine Reserve. 

Starr hopes that these findings will help guide future decisions regarding the Central Coast’s MPAs,  “California has spent a great deal of time and money to develop a statewide network of MPAs,” he said.  “It is important to evaluate the results of this policy, which is one of the most progressive in the world.”

The symposium will run through Friday, March 1st and the general public can attend by registering on the event website, found at

Dr. Rick Starr  (photo:

Graduate student Jahnava Duryea fishes during a CCFRP survey.  (photo by Cheryl Barnes)