Written by Jen Chiu, CCFRP Statewide Coordinator and Lead Field Scientist for Moss Landing Marine Lab with some modifications by Leandra Lopez, MPA Collabortive Network Staff


“I am thoroughly impressed with the high standard of science supported and adhered to by the extraordinarily professional scientific staff and assistants.  I wish the project resounding success as it progresses into the future.  Hopefully the end result of CCFRP helps Californians discover whether and how marine protected areas function to enhance our cherished coastal biological communities.” This said by a volunteer angler that participated on a research cruise with the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) this past 2018 field season.

The 2018 statewide CCFRP sampling season came to a close at the end of October.  Six participating research institutions conducted 72 sampling trips inside and outside of 15 different MPAs.  A total of 25,490 fishes were caught and released from over 35 different species in 2018.

To keep our volunteer anglers engaged in the off-season, each group will post a “Best of 2018” photo album to our Facebook account to allow our followers to relive the best moments of the field season.  Groups will also send out an annual newsletter that wraps up the season towards the end of 2018, which will tell interesting anecdotes from our days at sea, include staff updates, and will invite everyone to the annual volunteer angler appreciation event and data workshop.  This region-specific event is a great way to reconnect with our volunteers, thank them for all of their work throughout the season, and present figures and analyses of the data they helped us collect.    

Integrating stakeholders and the community is one of the main goals of this project.  Collaboration is present in all aspects of the program from utilizing CPFV captains, resource managers, and scientists to determine which MPAs to survey, to inviting volunteer anglers from the local fishing community to help us sample, and finally to combining the expertise of all these stakeholders to analyze the data and disseminate it to the public.  This program, and the long-term dataset we are striving to collect, would not be possible without the contribution from each of these groups.  We are looking forward to strengthening these partnerships during our 13th sampling season next summer.


About the Program

CCFRP is a partnership of people and communities interested in fisheries sustainability.  By combining the expertise and ideas of fishermen, scientists, and resource managers, CCFRP aims to collect valuable data on economically important marine species to evaluate the effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs) and to provide information for fisheries management.  In order to do so, standardized hook-and-line surveys are conducted with the assistance of volunteer anglers to catch and release nearshore fish species inside MPAs and associated reference sites (REF).  Research scientists identify, measure, and tag caught fishes prior to release, while engaging with volunteers to provide information on life history traits of fishes and MPA implementation. Each sampling trip provides information regarding species compositions, sizes, and catch rates of fishes in and around California MPAs that will be used by resource managers to assess stock health and MPA performance through time.

CCFRP has been conducting surveys along the central California coast since 2007, when the network of MPAs was established in this region.  From 2007 to 2016, the research groups from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (CP) utilized 12 CPFVs and more than 900 volunteer anglers over 325 sampling days at sea to tag and release over 82,000 fishes from 52 different species, tagging over 40,000 of those individuals prior to release.  In 2017, after 10 years of data collection, the program has expanded statewide to now include research partners from Humboldt State University, Bodega Marine Laboratories, MLML, CP, UC Santa Barbara, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  The statewide CCFRP database, containing data from 2007 to 2017, now has nearly 108,000 fishes from 84 species, caught by approximately 1,200 volunteer anglers in 14 different MPAs.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer angler in future sampling seasons, please contact us at ccfrp@mlml.calstate.edu or (831) 771-4479, and visit our various sites for more information.

Success Stories

The California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, in collaboration with students across California, are currently working CCFRP to identify exciting anecdotes from their research to augment existing MPA outreach and education. CMSF would be happy to share any of these stories with MPA Collaborative Network partners. If you know of any good stories of California MPA successes, or even just intriguing stories to help the public connect, please reach out to katelyn@californiamsf.org