Research diver collecting settlement blocks for evaluation of abalone juveniles. (David Witting, NOAA)

Marine Protected Area Evaluation

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) promote recovery of exploited fish populations of a particular area. This restoration funding category supported a review of the fish populations within the Channel Islands network of MPAs. MSRP provided funding for scientists to collect evidence that can be used for site selection and design of future networks of MPAs. Supporting these efforts will provide long-term benefits for fishing and fish habitats throughout California. The effective management of MPAs in the Northern Channel Islands will lead to more effective use of this fisheries management tool throughout California.

MPA projects were selected for funding in regions that promoted the production of commonly caught coastal fish species of southern California. Funds were awarded to the National Park Service and the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO).

MPA Projects and Updates

National Park Service Monitors Kelp Forests in Northern Channel Islands

The Channel Islands National Park kelp monitoring program has been collecting data around the islands since 1982. Monitoring data for fish, invertebrates, and algae were collected inside and outside of MPA borders for comparison to determine the effectiveness of MPAs. This project was supported by MSRP during 2007 and 2008 and was leveraged by funding from the National Park Service, NOAA’s Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary, and the California Department of Fish and Game.

Standardized Monitoring Units (SMURFs) Measure Recruitment in Northern Channel Islands

MSRP provided funding to PISCO that helped to expand their efforts in understanding recruitment patterns of various marine organisms inside and outside of MPAs. PISCO used SMURFs which are artificial collectors that are placed in the water and used to attract juvenile fish and invertebrates (crabs, urchins, lobsters). The data collected from the SMURFs was used to estimate the number of marine organisms that transition from their larval stages in the plankton to becoming juveniles living on a rocky reef.