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College of Science and Mathematics

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Website Update

Cal Poly Marine Sciences Program Wins Grant to Aid California Fishermen and Fisheries

Nov. 3, 2011

Fishing BoatSAN LUIS OBISPO – Cal Poly’s Center for Coastal Marine Sciences won a scientific competition for a $720,000 state grant to help improve how California manages its near-shore fishing grounds.

The grant will allow for an expansion of the research the center’s SLOSEA (San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance) program has been doing for the past five years: monitoring the impacts of California's relatively new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on fish populations.

Cal Poly students and professors involved in the research program are regularly aboard local fishing boats catching, counting, measuring and releasing fish species at designated study spots inside and outside Central Coast Marine Protected Areas.

They are documenting the impacts on fish populations, fishermen and the local economy when fishing is closed or restricted in the Marine Protected Areas. In addition to Cal Poly, the program involves five harbor communities ranging from Half Moon Bay to Port San Luis, more than 500 fishermen, 15 recreational and commercial fishing boats based on the Central Coast, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

Cal Poly Marine Science Professor Dean Wendt, SLOSEA director and associate dean of the university’s College of Science and Mathematics, said the marine research program is working to develop and deliver the scientific data California needs to fully implement existing state fisheries management legislation.

“This award places Cal Poly marine sciences research at the center of the state’s conversation on how to improve the management of its fisheries. At the same time, it involves our students in research that is solving real-world problems,” Wendt said.

Wendt, Biological Sciences Professor Royden Nakamura and attorney Melissa Locke, SLOSEA’s policy and communications manager, developed SLOSEA’s latest winning grant proposal. They outlined Cal Poly professors’ and students’ research to date and described the partnerships SLOSEA has forged between the university, local fishermen, the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries division.

Thanks to the $720,000 grant, Cal Poly marine science professors will now collaborate with scientists at Stanford and UCSB in addition to its ongoing work with Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, fishermen and fisheries managers at the CDFG and NOAA.

The competition was sponsored by the California Sea Grant program and the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC). For the competition, the Sea Grant and OPC required academic scientists to demonstrate deep partnerships with state and federal resource management agencies and an ability to develop the scientific data needed to use the Marine Protected Areas as fisheries management tools.

“I’m very proud that Cal Poly’s Center for Coastal Marine Sciences and SLOSEA have developed strong partnerships with state and federal agencies,” Wendt said. “They provide our students with the opportunity to apply their scientific expertise and knowledge to issues of critical importance to resource managers and our local communities.”

Find out more about Cal Poly’s Center for Coastal Marine Sciences.

Learn more about the collaborative fishing research and Cal Poly’s SLOSEA (San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance) program on its website.

Find out more about the California Sea Grant program on its website.

 

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