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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Integrating collaborative data collection with management: A lobster fishery test case


Cost-effective programs for gathering essential fisheries information (EFI) are critically needed to

improve the data-poor state of fisheries in California and worldwide. The California Marine Life

Management Act (MLMA) recognizes this need and requires development of fishery management

plans (FMPs) that identify suitable protocols for collecting data, and use of the best available

scientific information to inform management. Furthermore, in the United States, several state

and federal laws require the engagement of fishermen and others in fisheries management. To

address these needs, we developed a collaborative at-sea sampling program (CASP) by:

• determining the key regulatory, administrative and operational features of established

collaborative fisheries data collection programs,

• developing a robust sampling design with associated protocols for the commercial

California spiny lobster fishery,

• designing, testing and modifying data collection and management components of the

sampling program, and

• exploring options for sustaining the program into the future.

The goal of the program was to provide a model for generating an ongoing stream of diverse data

and interpretation for integration into management, thereby supporting use of more

sophisticated and robust models for managing California fisheries.

We used the California commercial fishery for spiny lobster, for which an FMP is being developed,

as a test case. This project built upon earlier work by the co-PIs developing a CASP for California’s

southern rock crab commercial fishery (Culver et al. 2010) and by Neilson to implement a lobster

fishery data collection program similar to one used in the New Zealand rock lobster fishery.

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