30×30 Virtual Roundtable Discussion

Conserving 30% of California’s Coastal Waters by 2030

Please join us for a roundtable discussion on how the state will meet its goal to conserve 30% of coastal waters by 2030, conserve coastal and marine biodiversity, and enhance climate resilience. … read more

California Program Helps Phase Out Drift Gillnets to Protect Whales and Other Marine Species

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Lisa Lien-MagerCalifornia Natural Resources Agency
(916) 407-6279

SACRAMENTO – In a step toward more sustainable fishing, a new California program helped 38 commercial fishermen retire large-mesh drift gillnets and adopt gear that better protects sea turtles, whales, and other sensitive marine species. The program, created by the California Legislature and implemented through regulations established by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), provides financial compensation to California commercial large-mesh drift gillnet fishermen who voluntarily turn in their nets and permits and switch to more selective fishing gear, including innovative deep-set buoy gear.

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OPC is Hiring a Biodiversity Program Manager – Apply by November 10, 2022

OPC is hiring an Environmental Scientist to help lead its efforts to enhance coastal, marine, and estuarine biodiversity in California.  The Environmental Scientist will advance these strategic priorities, as outlined in the Strategic Plan to Protect California’s Coast and Ocean, in coordination with OPC staff, state and federal agencies, California Native American tribes, local governments, scientists, non-profits, community members, and others. The Environmental Scientist will also be responsible for grant and contract management including developing scopes of work and budgets, tracking deliverables, and coordinating with grantees. The Environmental Scientist will also provide additional support and capacity for OPC’s other strategic priorities, as needed. … read more

Updates from the October 6, 2022 Council Meeting

The October 6 Ocean Protection Council (OPC) meeting was an exciting and moving gathering. State and federal agencies, tribes, non-profit and business partners, and members of the public joined together with joyful tears and cheers in support of landmark decision-making in areas of tribal engagement and environmental justice as well as continued uplifting of the best available science to meet some of the state’s biggest challenges.

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OPC Joins the 30×30 Partnership: A Collaboration for People and Nature

By Michael Esgro, Senior Biodiversity Program Manager & Tribal Liaison

Yesterday, hundreds of environmental champions (including OPC leadership and staff!) met at California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) Headquarters in Sacramento for the official kickoff of the 30×30 Partnership. This new collaborative brings together local, state, federal, and tribal leaders from across the state to ensure the voices of all Californians are represented in the state’s bold effort to conserve 30% of its lands and coastal waters by 2030.

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Fishing for Research: OPC Staff and the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program Team Up in Point Lobos

By Stacy Hayden, Communications Manager

It was a calm Friday at 6:30 a.m. when we left the dock on the vessel New Horizon from Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. At the helm was charter boat Captain John Klusmire leading a coffee-fueled group of deck hands and volunteer anglers, including six OPC staff, out along Central California’s rugged coastline. This wasn’t any old fishing trip; this was serious scientific business. Our host for the day, the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP), has been collaborating on fisheries research with the help of scientists and fishermen since 2007. OPC staff were just a few of the volunteer anglers on board that day supporting CCFRP’s efforts of conducting catch and release data collection to evaluate the effects of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on fish populations.  

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MPA Monitoring Series: Ask the Researcher, Part 4: Estuaries and Mid-Depth Rocky Habitat

In the final “Ask the Researcher” webinars held in August, participants discussed important MPA monitoring projects in estuarine habitats and mid-depth rocky habitats. To learn more about this exciting summer series and the previous webinars, check out: Ask the Researcher, Part 1: Kelp and Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems, Part 2: Ocean Observing Systems and Sandy Beach Ecosystems, and Part 3: CCFRP and Commercial & CPFV Fisheries.

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MPA Monitoring Series: Ask the Researcher, Part 3: California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program and Commercial & CPFV Fisheries 

In the 5th and 6th “Ask the Researcher” MPA monitoring series webinars held in July, we discussed the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) and Human Dimensions: Commercial & Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel (CPFV) Fishing. To learn more about this exciting summer series, and the previous webinars, check out: Ask the Researcher, Part 1: Kelp and Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems and Part 2: Ocean Observing Systems and Sandy Beach Ecosystems. 

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DDT – A Never Ending Story

By Mark Gold, D.Env.

In 1962, Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking Silent Spring exposed the devastating environmental harm caused by synthetic pesticides including DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane). In the book, she wrote, ”How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?” The book helped catalyze the environmental movement of the 1960s and led to the eventual DDT application ban in the United States in 1972. I was born a year after Silent Spring was published and nine years before the DDT ban, yet here we are a full half-century after the ban with DDT still causing ecological harm and posing public health risks to exposed populations.

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An Underwater Snapshot of Kelp Health in Monterey

By Michael Esgro, Senior Biodiversity Program Manager & Tribal Liaison

It was 2013 in Monterey when I learned to scuba dive – one year before a record-breaking marine heatwave arrived off the California coast, bringing with it a “perfect storm” of changing ocean conditions that severely impacted kelp ecosystems across the state. As the heatwave persisted through 2016, much of the kelp off the Monterey Peninsula gradually disappeared. However, the story in Monterey is more nuanced in contrast to the region-wide devastation observed off of California’s north coast where over 95% of bull kelp has been lost in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties –  Monterey’s kelp has continued to persist in some places despite harsh conditions.

The CDFW’s lead on kelp management, Dr. Kristen Elsmore, conducting kelp surveys. Photo: Ralph Pace

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