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California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program

The California Collaberative Research Program (CCFRP) blends citizen science and cooperative research to monitor fish populations inside the state's network of marine protected areas and at nearby reference sites that are still open to recreational fishing. Faculty from Cal Poly and Moss Landing Marine Labs developed a scientifically rigorous hook-and-line survey in partnership with the NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the recreational fishing industry (the Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel, or CPFV, fishing fleet), where vessels (including vessel Captain and crew) are chartered to conduct the survey, and volunteers conduct all of the sampling. During a sampling event, volunteer anglers are assigned a station aboard the fishing vessel to fish, while scientific staff collect information on the environmental conditions, the catch by species, size of each fish, and tag a subset of fish. The vast majority of fishes caught (with some exceptions for age data collections or other special studies) are released with descending devices to increase post-capture survivorship. In 2016, CCFRP was expanded statewide to include six partner academic institutions, monitoring 14 protected areas and 14 adjacent reference sites spanning the entire coast of California. Over 1,650 volunteer anglers have caught more than 150,000 fish since 2007. The volunteers include all experience levels of anglers and ages from high school students to retirees. As one of the few citizen science programs contributing data to stock assessments and protected area management, the program inherently supports the sustainable management of domestic fisheries, and provides high-quality data to address a range of other management questions. In addition, the collaborative nature of the methodology allows the fishing community to work directly with scientists, increasing trust and confidence in the resulting data from both groups.

Project URL:

Geographic Scope: California state waters within 15 designated marine protected areas, and 16 reference sites adjacent to those areas

Project Status: Active - recruiting volunteers

Participation Tasks: Specimen/sample collection,

Start Date: 01/01/2007

Project Contact:

Federal Government Sponsor:

NOAA logo

Other Federal Government Sponsor:

Fields of Science: Biology, Ecology and environment, Nature and outdoors, Ocean/water and marine

Intended Outcomes: The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Project (CCFRP) was designed to monitor California’s network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in order to evaluate their effectiveness as a tool for conservation and fisheries management.