Central Coast: Baseline Results

The new “E-Book”, State of the California Central Coast: Results from Baseline Monitoring of Marine Protected Areas 2007 – 2012 is now live! It includes interactive graphs, videos and more. See it in action!

In 2007, the Central Coast became the first region in California to implement a network of 29 marine protected areas under the Marine Life Protection Act. Scientific monitoring is essential to evaluate the effects of MPAs and inform ocean management. The first step of monitoring is to establish a benchmark of ocean conditions and human activities at the time of MPA implementation, against which future changes can be measured.

Researchers from academic institutions and government agencies, as well as individuals from citizen science organizations and fishermen involved in collaborative fisheries projects, conducted surveys of kelp forests, nearshore fish populations, rocky intertidal habitats and deep-water habitats. Socioeconomic data were also collected, allowing us to paint a broad picture of the condition of Central Coast marine ecosystems, including how humans interact with them.

A new summary report shares these monitoring results: State of the California Central Coast: Results from Baseline Monitoring of Marine Protected Areas 2007-2012, California Ocean Science Trust and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California, USA. February 2013.

OceanSpaces is hosting the digital version, or E-Book, of this report enhanced with interactive elements. The E-Book format allows you to begin with the summary report and then dive deeper into interactive graphics, videos and raw data.

It is designed to provide a richer understanding of the results, as well as of the community who conducted the monitoring.

The report highlights key findings that include:

  • What types of habitats exist within the MPA network?
  • What are the benchmark conditions in kelp forest, mid-depth, deep and rocky intertidal ecosystems?
  • How have commercial fishing landings and revenues changed over time?
  • Are MPAs having a positive effect on marine ecosystems?
  • Are there any differences in the size or abundance of key species inside MPAs as compared to outside MPAs?
  • How have landings in key commercial fisheries – like squid, and the nearshore live fish fishery – varied in each of the region’s ports since 1992?
  • How has the number of trips on party-boats varied through time?
  • How do oceanographic processes such as upwelling, currents and El Niño events affect species and human activities in the region?
  • How are species such as abalone and rockfish distributed across the region, between MPAs, and within different ecosystems like rocky shores and kelp forests?
  • What insights have we learned to help inform ongoing monitoring and adaptive management of the MPAs?

Results from the baseline program provide a more thorough understanding of ecological and socioeconomic conditions in the Central Coast region and will inform the recommended 5-year management review of the regional MPA network.

Results were shared during the State of the California Central Coast public symposium February 27 – March 1, 2013 in Monterey, CA. Raw data from the Central Coast Baseline Program are also available on OceanSpaces.