PS 19-57 - Collaborative research methods for surveying fish communities associated with nearshore rock reefs in Northern California Marine Protected Areas

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center
Ian D Kelmartin1, Jay M Staton1, Tim J Mulligan1 and Joe Tyburczy2, (1)Fisheries Biology, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, (2)California Sea Grant Extension, Eureka, CA

Rocky reefs are iconic features of the California coast that support both recreational and commercial fisheries and provide habitat for a rich diversity of fishes. Using methods developed by the California Collaborative Fisheries Research program, we conducted hook-and-line surveys in partner with commercial passenger fishing vessel (CPFV) captains and volunteer fishers to characterize baseline status of nearshore rocky reef fish assemblages in 4 pairs of marine protected areas and reference areas along the coast of Northern California.


The project sampled 4248 individuals of 22 species, including 14 species of Rockfish (Sebastes spp.). Catch composition was dominated by Black Rockfish (Sebastes melanops, 39%), Blue Rockfish (Sebastes mystinus, 19%) and Lingcod (Ophidion elongatus, 15%) across all sites. The sampling effort was successful, but hampered by the remote nature of some ports and sites, frequent unfavorable sea conditions, mechanical problems, and scheduling around the captain’s regular business--challenges that led to the cancellation of 12 of the first 15 sampling trips. Though requiring greater coordination among the collaborators, scheduling trips within the 5 day coastal waters forecast window resulted in a far lower cancellation rate, and benefited captains by allowing them to fill days when no other charter was booked. The project engaged 40 volunteer anglers and 12 professional crew.