Using Outcomes from Marine Protected Area Implementation to Infer Potential Socioeconomic Consequences of Offshore Energy Development to Commercial Fisheries

Award Period
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USDI Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
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Area/s of Research
Marine Conservation, Policy and Education

The purpose of this study is to describe the detectable socioeconomic consequences experienced by the commercial fishing industry due to the implementation of formal or de facto marine protected areas (MPAs) in California and to use this information to inform impact analyses of prospective offshore energy projects, including offshore wind and marine hydrokinetic projects.

The State of California, local government agencies, and the public will be the primary beneficiaries of this federal assistance agreement. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) administers the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) and is authorized to implement MPAs on behalf of the State under California Fish and Game Code, Chapter 10.5 Marine Life Protection Act [§§ 2850 - 2863]. The CDFW reviews its programs every five years as part of its adaptive management and monitoring plan and would benefit from a systematic effort that evaluates the status and productivity of fisheries that were predicted to be impacted by closures, and also how MPAs may interface with California’s Marine Life Management Act. Permitting agencies at both the State and local level will benefit from the environmental data and analyses resulting from this award, because it can assist them in planning for and reviewing proposed projects in waters under their jurisdiction, especially those that may have conflicts with commercial fishing, e.g. offshore wind facilities in State waters, decommissioning plans for oil and gas facilities in State waters, and mariculture projects. Finally, members of the public, which have broad interests in MPAs, would benefit by understanding outcomes from this spatial management approach, and California’s Ocean Protection Council has dedicated considerable resources to MPA public outreach.

This work implements the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act mandate to conduct environmental studies to predict impacts on the human, marine, and coastal environments from OCS resource activities (43 U.S.C. § 1346 (b)).