What is CCFRP?

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.

The Marine Life Protection Act (est. 1999) requires scientific monitoring of California’s network of marine protected areas (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!  To  examine the effects of MPAs on local marine resources, CCFRP 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).

Since 2007, CCFRP has utilized local charter boats and the help of numerous volunteer anglers to study 4 central California MPAs.  In 2017, the program expanded statewide to include 10 additional MPAs. Standardized scientific methods used in all regions were developed during a workshop that incorporated input from academic scientists, marine resource managers and members of local fishing communities.  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 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