What is CCFRP?

On 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 network of California MPAs expanded in 2010 with the implementation of 25 more in the North Central region, and in 2012 with the implementation of 50 along the South coast and 20 along the North coast. 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!  Utilizing standardized protocols, CCFRP employs the expertise from fishers, people in academia, and resource managers to collaboratively survey MPAs along the coast, with the intent of using these data for fisheries management.

2007 - 2017

In the first 10 years of the program, CCFRP actively monitored four specific areas along the central California coast (Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation AreaPoint Lobos State Marine ReservePiedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Point Buchon State Marine Reserve) to examine the effects of MPAs on local marine resources.  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 on the central California coast, 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.

CCFRP 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

Statewide Expansion

In 2017, after ten years of data collection in the central California coast management region, CCFRP expanded statewide.  Utilizing the same standardized protocols, CCFRP now actively monitors fourteen specific areas (South Cape Mendocino State Marine Reserve, Ten Mile State Marine Reserve, Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve, Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Southeast Farallon Islands State Marine Reserve, Año Nuevo State Marine ReservePoint Lobos State Marine ReservePiedras Blancas State Marine Reserve, Point Buchon State Marine Reserve, Carrington Point State Marine Reserve, Anacapa Island State Marine Reserve, Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve, Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area, and South La Jolla State Marine Reserve) in partnership with 6 academic institutions (Humboldt State University, Bodega Marine laboratories, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Santa Barbara, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography) as a statewide program.  To learn more about our research efforts across the state, please visit our statewide CCFRP website.

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 Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,  Humboldt State University, Bodega Marine Laboratory, UC Santa Barbara, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as well the Ocean Protection Council, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  The program would not be possible without the dedication and support of our local fishing communities, volunteer anglers, science crew teams, and the captains and crew of our fishing vessel partners.