Collaborative (Constituent-based) Research on the Marine Resources of the Central California Coast
For the past several years I have been actively engaged with the community on the Marine Interest Group of San Luis Obispo County (MIG). The MIG is a stakeholders group whose mission is to protect and enhance the marine resources off San Luis Obispo County. The MIG formed in January 2003 to have constructive dialogue about the marine resources off San Luis Obispo (SLO) County. The group is composed of 20 representatives of stakeholders including elected officials, business people, conservationists, fishermen, scientists, and citizens. The MIG's official statement of purpose is to:
1. Promote understanding of the marine resources off the Coast of San Luis Obispo County and the needs and interests of the stakeholders involved with their use and enjoyment.
2. Openly examine potential ways to sustain and enhance the resources.
3. Recommend desirable courses of action (or no action) as appropriate to support the resources and their sustainable use.
As part of the MIG, I have spearheaded a collaborative research program linking Cal Poly faculty and students with the local community and local resource managers. Our first project brought together scientists, local recreational fisherman, and the California Department of Fish and Game to collect data and compare our results with a previous 10-year study on several important rockfish species. We expanded our collaborative research with recreational fisherman to include projects with commercial fisherman, and the Morro Coast Audubon Society. Specifically, our current projects include: 1) research and monitoring of nearshore rockfish species on recreational fishing vessels; 2) measurement of juvenile recruitment of rockfish and other ground fish species using Standard Monitoring Units for Recruitment of Fishes (SMURFS); 3) collaboration with commercial fisherman to assess populations of the commercially important Cabezon species; and 4) continuation of an existing 5-year study conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game to determine species composition and relative abundance of pelagic marine birds found offshore of San Luis Obispo County. Several Cal Poly faculty are involved in these studies.
Research Funded by:
California Coastal and Marine Initiative of the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation