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Cougars and Mustangs


In a move that will help monitor the state’s Marine Protected Areas, a state grant of $720,000 was awarded to Cal Poly’s Center for Coastal Marine Sciences early in November.

The winning proposal, developed by Cal Poly Marine Science Professor Dean Wendt, Biological Sciences Professor Royden Nakamura, and attorney Melissa Locke, displayed the necessary partnerships with state and federal resource agencies, as well as the utilization of scientific data within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as fisheries management tools.

With an eye on declining fish populations, legislators passed the California Marine Life Protection Act. The motion led to the California Fish and Game Commission placing a restriction on fishing along 49 protected marine areas in late 2010.

The grant will now allow SLOSEA (San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance) the opportunity to continue monitoring the impacts of the MPAs on fish populations. The current program has more than 500 fishermen involved, along with 15 recreational and commercial fishing vessels.

Monitoring communities from Half Moon Bay to Port San Luis, SLOSEA documents the MPAs’ impact on fish populations, the fishing industry, and local economies. The integrated group of scientists, resources managers, and stakeholders seeks to find specific data for selected spots throughout the Central Coast.

SLOSEA is conducting much of its research on sustainable fisheries at its Moss Landing Marine Laboratory. Situated in the bay between Monterey and Santa Cruz, their work at the lab is leading toward the building of relationships between fishermen and scientists—while also working on regional plans to improve knowledge concerning the health of marine ecosystems.

Participants receive hands-on experience that puts them in the field with faculty and other researchers and come from a variety of disciplines, such as marine ecology, oceanography, and biogeochemistry.

The grant was given by the National Sea Grant College Program, which is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According the Journal of Oceanography, the California Sea Grant, which has been around for close to 40 years, originated with the intention of “figuring out how to best use the ocean and how best to preserve it.”

Intern Jason Keedy compiled this week’s Cougars and Mustangs. Send comments or items for consideration to [email protected].

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