MPA Network Decadal Management Review Report and Forum

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced the first Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network Decadal Management Review (Review) report is now available!

The Review provides a synthesis of the last decade of management activities in the four pillars of the MPA Management Program and the effectiveness of the MPA Network at meeting the goals of the Marine Life Protection Act. The Review is informed by many sources of information, including an integrative analysis of statewide MPA monitoring data, shared perspectives and priorities from California Native American Tribes, information from MPA management partners, MPA enforcement data, scientific collecting permit data, and input from the broader ocean community. … read more

Deep Ocean DDT+ Contamination in Southern California

New Report and Research Funding Opportunity from Sea Grant and University of Southern California

A Deep Ocean DDT+ Research Needs Assessment for the Southern California Bight January 2023

The University of Southern California (USC) Sea Grant Program and the California Sea Grant Program jointly announced the release of a new report and StoryMap detailing what research is needed most urgently to address the deep ocean DDT contamination off the coast of Los Angeles.

DDT, an insecticide banned in 1972, has harmful impacts on wildlife and potential carcinogenic effects on humans. The unknowns about deep ocean DDT+ instigated a call to action by researchers, national and state leadership, and the broader Southern California community. … read more

California at COP 15: Reflections on the UN Biodiversity Conference

By Michael Esgro, Senior Biodiversity Program Manager & Tribal Liaison

UPDATE: On December 19, 2022, more than 190 countries agreed on a landmark new deal to protect nature and halt biodiversity loss worldwide. The new Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework calls for conservation action at an unprecedented scale, and includes a commitment to conserve 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030.

An unprecedented global gathering is currently taking place in Montreal, Canada, where representatives from 195 nations have convened at the United Nations biodiversity conference (COP 15) to negotiate a new agreement to protect the world’s habitats and species. COP 15 has been described as a “Paris moment for nature.” It is a once-in-a-decade chance – and perhaps the last opportunity before it’s too late – for nations to come together to halt extinctions and set the world on a path toward a nature-positive future. But a lack of national-level leadership across the globe, disagreements over financing, and the complexity of the biodiversity crisis itself have caused negotiations to teeter in recent days. Against this backdrop, a group of California leaders arrived in Montreal last week to showcase our state’s global leadership on biodiversity and push for an ambitious agreement aligned with California values.

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Registration Open: California Ocean Litter Strategy Webinar

Join the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program for a bi-annual California Ocean Litter Strategy webinar.

The webinar will include updates and developments from federal and California agencies on research and policy related to plastic and marine debris.

Webinar Details

This webinar will be hosted on Zoom.

Thursday, November 17, 2022 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. PST

Register Online … read more

Round 3 Funding for CA MPA Outreach & Education Opens Soon – Technical Assistance is Available

OPC has funded Coastal Quest to administer the third round of a small grants program to support outreach and education projects that increase outreach and engagement of California’s marine protected areas.

This program will provide grants between $25,000 and $100,000 to proposals that engage or conduct outreach targeting:

  • the recreational and commercial fishing communities
  • communities of color that have been underserved in MPA management and education
  • California Native American tribes or tribal organizations

… 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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Harmful Algal Bloom in San Francisco Bay Results in Aquatic Mortality, Fish Kills

Waters in San Francisco Bay have turned reddish-brown this summer due to a multi-week harmful algal bloom (HAB) identified as Heterosigma akashiwo, an invasive species of marine algae responsible for some of the ‘red tides’ that are toxic to fish and aquatic life.

HABs, which result from the overgrowth of algae, or phytoplankton such as Pseudo-nitzschia, can produce cyanotoxins that can affect human and aquatic ecosystem health, cause acute and chronic illnesses, and in some cases mortality in pets who come in contact with harmful algae. These blooms also result in low dissolved oxygen that suffocate fish and can cause widespread fish mortality, known as ‘fish kills.’ … read more

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. 

… read more