April 4, 2013

Central Coast Marine Reserves, Just 5 Years Old and Doing Great!

In the last week of February, Save Our Shores Executive Director, Laura Kasa, and Program Manager, Brad Hunt attended the State of the California Central Coast Symposium along with state agencies, research institutions, marine scientists, non-profit environmental organizations, and others in Monterey, California to share the work from the past five years since the Central Coast Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) went into effect.  Learn about MPAs on our website here.

Over the two and a half day Symposium, presentations were given on baseline monitoring, building relationships between science and management, monitoring human use and impacts,  enforcement and governance, community engagement, public outreach and awareness, and preliminary results of fishery population changes.

Save Our Shores was invited to prepare a poster (see below) on our outreach campaign for Central Coast MPAs.  We presented on our boater outreach through our Dockwalker program as well as our outreach materials to help inform the general public. People took a lot of interest in our outreach materials and methods.  We even got several request to help inform other regions and states with their outreach efforts, yay for spreading the word about MPAs!

We also premiered our new video Protecting Our Coast: Marine Protected Areas, produced by Left Coast Digital, to increases awareness about the value and benefit of MPAs.  Here it is for your viewing pleasure!

Protecting Our Coast: Marine Protected Areas from Save Our Shores on Vimeo.

Scientists presenting on the research and monitoring of the Central Coast MPAs expressed optimism as some very important species, such as rockfish, have been increasing in abundance inside of these MPAs.  Central Coast MPAs have only been in place for 5 years but in the highly complicated habitats of the Central Coast with long lived species, significant changes may not be seen for a decade.

Ongoing MPA monitoring will provide us with more information about species and ecosystem changes and the impacts that human activities are having on our ocean over time and how MPAs are affecting them. For more information about the symposium and the results of the scientific reasearch and other efforts, check out oceanspaces.org and spread the word about Marine Protected Areas!

For MPAs to truly have a chance to work as intended, compliance with the regulations has to occur and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Wardens are on task to see that they are successful. MPA education and outreach is a critical component to encourage compliance but also community support for MPAs and reporting of violations will ensures the future success of MPAs. Save Our Shores will continue to do our part engaging and educating the public about the value and benefit our network of MPAs will provide for California.

Here is a video of the Honorable Fred Keeley, past SOS Board Member and the author of the Marine Life Protection Act which lead to the induction of Marine Protected Areas in California, giving the welcome address at the Symposium.