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Does Participation in Fisheries Research Change Anglers' Opinions of California's Marine Protected Areas?

  • Author(s): Kellum, Allison
  • et al.
Abstract

Recent marine spatial planning efforts, including the management and monitoring of marine protected areas (MPAs), have increasingly focused on the importance of stakeholder engagement. The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) provides a unique opportunity for members of the public to partner with researchers, the fishing industry,and resource managers to monitor California’s network of MPAs. The program has shown considerable success in engaging volunteers since its inception in 2006. However, there has never been a formal study of the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of these volunteers regarding the program, marine conservation, and MPAs. This study surveyed CCFRP volunteers to: characterize them as a population; determine what their core motivations were for joining andstaying in the program; assess their attitudes towards fisheries management; and evaluate if participation in the program influences their opinions of MPAs in California. It was found that volunteers represent a cross section of the general recreational angling community in some keyways, but are generally more conservation minded than their peers. Participation in science and giving back to fisheries resources are major motivating factors for volunteering. While most volunteers have a positive opinion of MPAs, and those who joined the program earlier are morelikely to have gained a more positive opinion of MPAs. Through this research we now have a clearer view of who Central Coast CCFRP volunteers are as a group, and how participation in the program has shaped their perspectives.

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