California Natural Resources Secretary Speaker Series
UPDATE: The recording is now available:
February 14, 2023 at 1:00 PM via Zoom
California’s 124 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) span our state’s entire coastline to conserve tidepools, sandy beaches, submarine canyons, estuaries, and kelp forests, and to protect all life that depends on these unique places. Established 10 years ago through a science-based and community-driven process, California’s MPA Network is now among the largest, most sophisticated marine conservation efforts anywhere in the world. State agencies have recently released a comprehensive assessment of how the MPA Network performed over its first decade, revealing where MPAs are making a difference and scientific questions that remain.
OPC staff presented the Annual Coast and Ocean Report highlighting both preliminary indicators for ocean health and a retrospective of OPC accomplishments towards achieving 2020-2025 Strategic Plan goals in 2022. Action items on the agenda supporting OPC’s 2023 efforts towards meeting Strategic Plan goals were all passed unanimously by the Council, including:
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
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.
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.