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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fisheries Management in California: Two Case Assessments


California’s Marine Life Management Act is a broad piece of legislation that mandates California’s living marine resources be managed with a goal of long-term sustainability. The Act went into effect in 1999, since which time the Fish and Game Commission and the Department of Fish and Game have satisfied a number of explicitly required elements. These include completion of Status of the Fisheries Report, a Master Plan that prioritizes fisheries for future management, and fishery management plans (FMPs) for several species. Discussions are underway for assessments and/or management for a few other species. However, due to lack of adequate financial and personnel resources, well-defined deadlines or repercussions, momentum has slowed on implementing the intended wide-ranging management for all species. Specific elements that have not been adequately addressed include: emerging fisheries, recreational fisheries, and managing data-poor fisheries (applicable to the first two). This paper explores some simple tools for evaluating and managing data-poor fisheries. Kellet’s whelk is examined as a possible emerging fishery, and barred sand bass and kelp bass are considered together as important components of the recreational fishery. The findings indicate that simple assessments are possible with available data, interim management is essential for emerging fisheries and spatial scale is important for management considerations.

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