MPA Ecosystem Survey Funded

Mary Yoklavich (SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division) and Rick Starr (UC Sea Grant Extension Office) received $805,710 from the California Ocean Protection Council to continue baseline surveys of demersal fishes, structure-forming invertebrates such as deepsea coral communities, and associated habitats in and near eight of the new marine protected areas (MPAs) on the central coast using direct observations from the manned submersible Delta.

This is the second year of these surveys, which are designed to take an integrated ecosystem approach to managing these habitats and species, something that cannot be accomplished with information from traditional trawl surveys alone. These baseline data, together with follow-up surveys over time, will help researchers tease apart effects of fishing from natural variability in this system, as well understand the effectiveness of MPAs at various sizes and levels of protection. These data also will address Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements for identification of Essential Fish Habitat and the spatial distribution of derelict fishing gear relevant to NOAA's Marine Debris Program.

(June 13, 2008)