NOAA's MPA Center and scientists from the Fisheries Ecology Division have been working with a diverse group of fishermen, practitioners and academic and agency scientists to explore the science of how best to manage recreational fishing for pelagic species within a marine protected area. This complex and often contentious issue touches many of NOAA's programs and constituencies.
Last November, the MPAC's Science Institute convened an expert workshop on this topic in Monterey, California. The workshop's goals were to document what we know about ecological linkages between pelagic and benthic communities in US waters; to identify priority gaps in scientific understanding of the impact of recreational fishing on those linkages; and, to begin to build the foundation for practical guidelines for MPA planners and managers faced with this issue. Despite divergent perspectives on MPAs and fishing, the participants found important common ground in identifying ecological conditions under which vertical zoning of recreational fishing might, or might not, be appropriate to consider when planning a new MPA. A summary of the workshop's results was published in the monthly newsletter, MPA News, available in it’s entirety at www.mpanews.org . (March 13, 2006)