MPA Monitoring Series: Ask the Researcher, Part 1: Kelp and Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems

scuba diver

Photo: Kelp diver, Credit: Koehn

OPC’s “Ask the Researcher” MPA monitoring webinar series officially launched in May! This summer series highlights key monitoring results from the marine protected area (MPA) monitoring program, connecting audience members directly to California’s leading MPA scientists who describe their research both inside and outside of MPAs along the California coast and answer questions from webinar participants. The webinar series is responsive to feedback heard through community meetings held by California Department of Fish and Wildlife last fall, where members of the public voiced interest in learning more about MPA science and connecting directly to the researchers who monitor California’s key habitats. Results from these monitoring projects, along with information from other sources, are foundational to informing California’s MPA Decadal Management Review, which will be presented to the California Fish and Game Commission in February 2023.   … read more

AllWet💦: Impact Science

AllWet💦 is a new article series by Mark Gold, D.Env., OPC’s Executive Director and Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency

All Wet: An article Series by Mark Gold

Impact Science 

Yesterday, the OPC hosted its first in-person meeting in more than two years. Like all state agencies, we are trying to figure out the new normal with hybrid meetings – good online participation, but a public justifiably reluctant to return to large in-person meetings. Despite the low turnout yesterday in Sacramento, it was reassuring to see OPC Councilmembers and staff complete the essential work of the Council in the extraordinary, new CNRA auditorium. 

One of the reasons I was excited to be appointed by Governor Newsom as Executive Director of the OPC three years ago was the Council’s long-term focus on impact science: applied research that provides results that can enhance state marine resource decision making. Science that makes a difference. The June 14th meeting was a great example of the OPC’s focus on impact science.  … read more

California and Canada Partner to Advance Bold Action on Climate and Biodiversity

Building on California’s global leadership on biodiversity and climate, and following the partnership established with New Zealand last month, Governor Gavin Newsom and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau announced a new partnership on June 9 to advance bold action on climate change and biodiversity conservation. California and Canada signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) focused on fighting climate change, reducing pollution, cutting back on plastic waste, advancing zero-emission vehicles, protecting species and habitats, and building climate resilience.

Credit: Sandra Fogg

At the California Science Center in Los Angeles during the Summit of the Americas, Governor Newsom and Prime Minister Trudeau, along with their respective delegations, held a bilateral meeting to discuss California and Canada’s shared values, which are reflected in the MOC. These include enhancing partnerships with  Indigenous Peoples, accelerating biodiversity conservation efforts, and conserving 30% of lands and waters by 2030.

The partnership also advances the goals and objectives of the California Ocean Litter Strategy and Statewide Microplastics Strategy to prevent plastic pollution by partnering on a range of complementary voluntary and regulatory actions spanning the plastics lifecycle in order to address the threats of plastic waste and pollution, including microplastics, on the health of the environment and ecosystems, including wildlife, rivers, lakes and ocean.

A joint statement on the new California-Canada climate action and nature protection partnership can be found here.

California Proposes New Requirement for Tiremakers to Seek Chemical Alternatives to Protect Water Quality, Coho Salmon

California has the largest network of freeways in the country and its cities are known for heavy traffic. Vehicle and traffic emissions not only impact air quality – but can degrade water quality.

When it rains, stormwater carries particles from vehicle tires and brake pads – such as zinc, copper, and microplastics – from city streets and highways into California’s streams, rivers, and ocean waters. Tire particles are also among the largest known sources of microplastic pollution with research completed in San Francisco Bay identifying nearly 50 percent of microplastic fibers that entered the Bay as vehicle tire wear.

Once in the environment, tire particles can be ingested by small organisms or bind with other contaminants, threatening the health of wildlife and entire watersheds that connect California summits to the sea.

Coho salmon. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Under a new regulation proposed by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), companies manufacturing motor vehicle tires for sale in California will have to evaluate safer alternatives to 6PPD, a chemical that readily reacts to form another chemical known to endanger California waters and kill threatened coho salmon. … read more

OPC’s Year in Review: Meeting Challenges, Advancing Equity, Protecting Our Ocean

“As we look to 2022, our goal at the agency is to… continue California’s global leadership, combating climate change, transitioning our economy, and protecting our people and nature in the meantime. I believe strongly that people are resilient and that nature is resilient. We can adapt and weather these changes we are experiencing right now, and we at the Natural Resources Agency and across state government are focused on strengthening the resilience of our communities, our residents, and of our natural places to these changes we are experiencing. I’m optimistic that we will work harder than ever before and make unprecedented process toward building this resilience.” – from California Natural Resources Secretary and Ocean Protection Council Chair Wade Crowfoot’s end of the year video message

As 2021 brought global challenges to the forefront, the state of California responded with bold, decisive actions to protect our coast and ocean. OPC staff led multiple projects designed to restore wetlands, improve water quality, prevent plastic pollution, respond to environmental justice inequities, promote sustainable fisheries, protect marine wildlife and build resilience to climate change.

Despite the many looming threats, we continue to find hope in the form of scientific solutions to the planet’s biggest problems and in the promising work done by our grantees on the front lines. Join us in celebrating specific achievements from the past year below: … read more

Recreational Red Abalone Management Strategies Integration

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) uses partnerships, policy and funding to advance science-based solutions to safeguard marine life, habitats and livelihoods in California. OPC has partnered with Tribes and Tribal communities, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), California Fish and Game Commission (FGC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and representatives from the recreational red abalone fishing community to support integration of proposed recreational red abalone management strategies.

Following a scientific peer review of two management strategies under consideration for the Recreational Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in 2018, the FGC made the following recommendations at its December 2018 meeting: (1) address peer review recommendations to integrate the two proposed management strategies; (2) develop a de minimis (i.e., managed/restricted access) fishery option; and (3) develop a more comprehensive process and timeline to engage and consult with stakeholders.

To accomplish this, a working meeting is being held to establish a Project Team and initiate its charge. The Project Team is open to all interested members of the public, including Tribes and Tribal communities, members of the abalone fishing community, scientists, resource managers, and others. Over the next six months, the Project Team will provide advice and guidance intended to assist CDFW and FGC as they consider final options for a Recreational Red Abalone FMP for the North Coast. Please see below for details on upcoming Project Team in-person meetings and/or webinars, as well as information from previous Project Team meetings.

Administrative Team Report

The final Administrative Team report (April 17, 2020) is available here.

The April 17, 2020 report incorporates feedback from the Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee (MRC) based on discussion during the March 17, 2020 MRC meeting.

The draft Administrative Team report (February 14, 2020) is available here.

The Administrative Team, consisting of a Tribal representative, OPC, CDFW, FGC, TNC, and fishing industry representatives, developed a report to respond to the December 2018 Fish and Game Commission motion and to summarize the management strategy integration process. The report is intended to capture and summarize Project Team discussions and guidance from May 2019-December 2019, including guidance related to the Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) results, the Exceptional Circumstances Strawman proposal, De Minimis Strawman proposal, etc.

Project Team Meetings

Tribes and Tribal communities, stakeholders, and interested members of the public are invited to participate in the sixth and final of a series of Project Team meetings to guide the development of the Recreational Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the North Coast.

Recreational Red Abalone FMP Project Team Meeting #6: Develop & Confirm Guidance for the Northern California Recreational Red Abalone Management Strategy: December 19, 2019: Meeting Agenda + Meeting Materials: 

Management strategy evaluation: Recreational Red Abalone Management Strategy Integration (Final report, January 6, 2020)

December 19, 2019 Key Meeting Highlights

High-Priority Meeting Materials:

Background Materials:


Webinar Recording: RedAbaloneFMP_ProjectTeam_12192019.mp3 (158 MB)


Recreational Red Abalone FMP Project Team Meeting #5: Review Management Strategy Evaluation Results & Develop Recommendations for Draft De Minimis Fishery: November 21, 2019: Meeting Agenda + Meeting Materials: 

High-Priority Meeting Materials

  • Agenda (here)
  • Exceptional Circumstances Strawman Proposal (here)
  • High-level Summary of Results from the Two-zone Management Strategy Evaluation (here)
  • Revised Strawman De Minimis Fishery Proposal (here)

Background Materials

  • Updated Project Team work plan (here)
  • Glossary of key terms (here)
  • Next steps for modelers from August 27/September 19, 2019 Project Team meeting (here)
  • De minimis fishery ideas and concepts received from the public (listed under “Project Team Proposals” below)

PowerPoint Presentations + Webinar: September 19, 2019 Project Team Meeting:


Recreational Red Abalone FMP Project Team: Meeting #4: Revised Management Strategy & Continued Discussion on De Minimis Fishery: September 19, 2019: Meeting Agenda + Meeting Materials:

PowerPoint Presentations + Webinar: September 19, 2019 Project Team Meeting:

September 19, 2019, Project Team Meeting: Key Themes Summary


Recreational Red Abalone FMP Project Team: Meeting #3: Discussion of Draft Management Strategies: Tuesday, August 27, 2019: Meeting Agenda + Meeting Materials:

High-Priority Meeting Materials

Background Materials

  • Draft de minimis fishery proposals (here)
  • Key Themes Summary from July 18 Project Team meeting (webinar) (here)
  • Updated, Project Team work plan (here)
  • De minimis fishery ideas and concepts received from the public (listed under “Project Team Proposals” below)

PowerPoint Presentations

August 27, 2019 Project Team Meeting: Key Themes Summary


Recreational Red Abalone FMP Project Team: Meeting (Webinar) #2: Update on Work Plan and Discussion of Data Streams and De Minimis Fishery Design Options: July 18, 2019 Meeting Agenda + Meeting Materials:

July 18, 2019 Project Team Meeting: Key Themes Summary


Recreational Red Abalone FMP Project Team Meeting #1: Review and Discuss Management Strategies and Brainstorm on Managed/Restricted Access Fishery Options: May 22, 2019 Meeting Agenda + Meeting Materials:

May 22, 2019 Project Team Meeting: Key Themes Summary


Project Team Meetings + Webinars: Draft Schedule

  • May 22, 2019 (in-person in Santa Rosa)
  • July 18, 2019 (webinar)
  • August 27, 2019 (in-person in Santa Rosa)
  • September 19, 2019 (webinar)
  • November 21, 2019 (in-person in Santa Rosa)
  • December 19, 2019 (webinar)

The FGC Marine Resources Committee is planning to meet on November 5, 2019, and the FGC is planning to meet on December 11-12, 2019.

Project Team Proposals 

Proposals and ideas related to the red abalone FMP process for the Project Team’s consideration, including proposals for a de minimis/restricted/managed access fishery, etc. All proposals must be received no later than the July 2019 Project Team meeting to be considered by the Project Team. Please submit proposals to All proposals will be made publicly available.

Proposals received from Project Team members and interested members of the public:

Red Abalone

Photo: Derek Stein

Additional Resources


OPC & Strategic Earth Grant Agreement: Red Abalone Proposed Management Strategies Integration, Project Team

To support this process, OPC entered into a grant agreement with Strategic Earth to provide neutral facilitation support of the Project Team process to inform integration of the red abalone management strategies. Strategic Earth will develop meeting summaries and other related deliverables per the grant agreement, which will be posted publicly on this OPC red abalone project webpage. Supporting information regarding approval of this grant agreement may be found in the Executive Director’s report (page 4 and page 11) for the May 23, 2019, OPC meeting.

Timeline: May 2019 – March 2020

Grant Amount: Up to $79,081

Grantee: Strategic Earth

California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan

The spiny lobster fishery is one of the oldest fisheries on the West Coast.  The range of the California spiny lobster, Panulirus interruptus, extends from Point Conception, California to Bahia Magdelena, Mexico.  The primary fishing ports for the California fleet are found from Santa Barbara to San Diego.    The development of a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) is intended to provide for the long term sustainability of this species.

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for managing the California spiny lobster in U.S. waters.  The fishery consists of both a commercial and a recreational fishery in Southern California.  The California spiny lobster fishery is identified as one of the highest priority candidates for an FMP due to an unknown population level and the extent of the recreational fishery harvest. The Spiny Lobster level of priority is also based in part on the state’s Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) master plan prioritization of the fishery for FMP development.  While the stock seems healthy, maintaining the lobster population’s sustainability over time is a concern for DFG and the OPC.  Additionally, the California Lobster and Trap Fishermen’s Association has expressed interest in FMP development to maintain the sustainability of the commercial lobster fishery.

The spiny lobster FMP will use a collaborative approach involving state agencies, the commercial and recreational fisheries, scientists, the California Wildlife Foundation (CWF), and members of the public.  The fishery plan builds on a number of key actions the OPC has taken to advance the development of sustainable fisheries and fishing communities in California.  Funding this FMP will implement recommendations from the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) lessons learned project to develop new approaches to inform FMPs.  It will also advance the California Sustainable Seafood Initiative (CSSI) by providing useful population data to help prepare the spiny lobster fishery for possible certification as sustainable.

Related Links
DFG California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan page 

Request for Qualifications
Management Strategy Evaluation (April 27, 2012)

Council Documents/Staff Reports
Staff Recommendation (May 12, 2011)

Moss Landing Fisheries Market Project

In November, 2007, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) purchased property in Moss Landing Harbor occupied by a wetfish offloader to provide a permanent home for the NSF (National Science Foundation) owned Research Vessel Point Sur.  This site is also home to one of the last remaining coastal pelagic species (wetfish) fish offloading facilities in Moss Landing.

MLML saw an opportunity to partner with the local fishing industry, to create a sustainable fishery that could save local jobs and to promote a partnership that would benefit research, education and fishing interests by developing the property into a multi-use fishing operations facility, serving research and education co-located with sustainable fish offloading facilities.

In 2007, OPC provided funds to MLML to develop a feasibility study with help from the local Monterey Institute of International Studies Business School and the Naval Postgraduate School.  The study examined markets for coastal pelagic species (CPS) — primarily, sardine, anchovy, mackerel and squid — that could be used to transform the existing low-value high-volume catch model to a higher-value lower volume management of the catch and identified new product and market opportunities.

Staff Recommendations/Project Documents
Moss Landing Feasibility Study

San Francisco Fishermen’s Wharf Seafood Market

The fishing community at Fisherman’s Wharf has provided seafood to area residents for more than a century.  On average, over 3 million pounds of fish per year are landed in San Francisco, making it one of the major seafood ports on the West Coast.  These landings are worth over six-million dollars a year to the local fleet, which operates largely in the waters of the Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries.  The local fleet has traditionally harvested salmon, crab, rock cod, albacore tuna, herring and California Halibut – a mixture of state- and federally-managed fisheries with diverse rules, fishery management plans and types of fishing gear.

Ecotrust, the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association (CBOA) and the San Francisco Community Fishing Association (SFCFA) are partnering on an innovative venture that is designed to create incentives for conservation of ocean resources through the creation of a sustainable wholesale and retail seafood market along San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.  The vision is to have San Francisco’s fishermen own and operate an integrated seafood business, from harvest to consumer that anchors the long-term viability of the fleet, create jobs for future generations of fishermen, maintain the fishing heritage of San Francisco Bay area, and create incentives for the responsible stewardship and sustainable management of the ocean.

In 2007, OPC and the Coastal Conservancy provided funds to Ecotrust to work with CBOA on a feasibility study, which included the development of a business plan,  architectural design sketches and engineering studies, and  construction costing for the market facility on Pier 47.  In November 2010, OPC  authorized additional funding for the first phase of project, creation of a pilot marketplace at Pier 45  in which fishermen can sell their fresh catch to area businesses, restaurants and local consumers, during the 2010-2011 season.

Council Documents/Staff Recommendations
Feasibility Study and Business Plan
Staff Recommendation for San Francisco Fishermen’s Wharf Seafood Market (Nov 2010)