Centennial Issue of Journal Celebrates California’s Ocean Resources

CA Fish and Wildlife Marine IssueAre you looking for an engaging read to help alleviate the stress of the holidays? If your interests include the care and conservation of California’s ocean resources, you might want to take a look at the special marine issue of California Fish and Game, California’s longest-running, continuously published scientific journal. The Spring 2014 issue contains reviews and study results focusing on the plants and animals that live in California’s marine environments.

This special issue covers a broad selection of topics, from aerial sardine surveys, to hagfish trap gear, to an overview of California’s marine protected area network and more, in papers authored by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) marine scientists, past and present.

aerial survey photo
Aerial photo of sardine school

Aerial sardine surveys in the Southern California Bight describes methods developed to enhance the science behind Pacific sardine management – an effort that may also enhance management of other coastal pelagic species such as Pacific mackerel and northern anchovy (also see the blog post A Bird’s Eye View: Aerial Surveys of Nearshore Waters Provide Important Information for Managing Coastal Pelagic Fishes).

Changes in biological characteristics of the California market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) from the California commercial fishery from 2000–01 to 2012–13 examines whether commercially landed market squid length and mass have changed over time, and whether these variables differ between geographic regions or by sex, as well as whether sex ratios have changed over time or differ by geographic region.

Implementing California’s Nearshore Fishery Management Plan — twelve years later presents an overview of the accomplishments and progress made toward implementing the plan’s management framework for California’s nearshore species complex.

Remotely operated vehicle, or ROV

Descriptive analyses and extended distribution records of macroinvertebrates based on remotely operated vehicle surveys offshore of the northern Channel Islands describes the many invertebrates, including crabs, sponges, sea stars, and similar animals, identified through video records taken by remotely operated vehicles. Study locations included marine protected areas off southern California’s Channel Islands, and adjacent locations. New depth and range records are described for some species.

The rise of invertebrate fisheries and the fishing down of marine food webs in California examines trends in the landings and values of California marine fisheries from 1980 to 2012, including regional, temporal, and habitat-related patterns in invertebrate fisheries, and whether these trends are consistent with the hypothesis that there are fewer predators in the top ten fisheries today.

Effects of fishing and the environment on the long-term sustainability of the recreational saltwater bass fishery in southern California provides a historical review of the saltwater bass fishery (especially for sand bass and kelp (calico) bass), and investigates the factors contributing to catch declines in recent years.

Overview of the creation and management of California’s marine protected area network provides an easily digestible overview of the enabling legislation and the process that led to the completion of California’s comprehensive network of marine protected areas, as well as present-day management of the network.

Influence of bucket trap hole diameter on retention of immature hagfish provides information that can be directly incorporated into fishery management decisions, through regulating trap-hole diameter in hagfish trap gear. The paper also explores the potential economic consequences of regulating hole diameter by evaluating its relationship to overall catch weight and average fish size.

Reproductive potential and spawning periodicity in barred sand bass (Paralabrax nebulifer) from the San Pedro Shelf, southern California presents the results of studies that shed light on the environmental and other cues that affect this popular game fish’s spawning habits, to better understand how, or if, reproductive potential varies from year to year.

“The research papers in this issue are examples of some of the important work that CDFW’s Marine Region is conducting to fulfill the guiding tenets of California’s Marine Life Protection Act and Marine Life Management Act, “ noted Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director, and Francisco Werner, NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center Director, in the marine issue introduction.

”The information presented here will add to the expanding knowledge base for improving and implementing adaptive fishery and ecosystem-based management in California,” they wrote.

This special marine issue is the second of four special issues assembled to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the journal. California Fish and Game is published quarterly by CDFW, and is read by environmental scientists and others interested in marine resource management worldwide.

post by Mary Patyten, CDFW Research Writer ♦ CDFW file photos; aerial photo of sardine school by K. Lynn