Monday, January 14, 2008

Adjust the Model

Submitted by Walter Ratcliff to the Modeling Working Team of the MLPA Scientific Advisory Team.


Following up on a comment made by Dr. John Largier during the January 8 SAT meeting, this note is to support including wind and coastal stewardship patterns in modeling fishing effort.

We at Sail Rock Ranch are one of the last few large intact coastal lands in sub-region 1. At each MLPA meeting, we have stood up to raise awareness about these de facto preserves. We have protected the land-sea interface off these properties for 80 plus years. It seems to us that the size-spacing scoring method used by itself enables—actually encourages—the teams to put a new label—SMR, SMCA—on these areas without substantive change in protection level for the sub-region. In the SAT session, we presented a map showing how the stakeholder proposals neatly avoid areas of public access and target areas off these last undeveloped properties. We fail to see how this placement (which has been identified as a selection bias in the literature) will improve habitat or fishery outcomes.

We support the goals of MLPA. As conservationists and partners of DFG wardens of long standing, we want to see it work. We are concerned that the current MPA placements in sub-region 1 simply ratify the status quo. Putting a new label on these already-protected waters is politically popular, but we all should expect more.

To give you a sense of usage, members of Sail Rock Ranch took fewer than 10 rockfish in 2007. Following termination of the nearshore longlining program of the 1990’s, rockfish are recovering. The urchin fishery has all but disappeared from its levels of the 90s, from 20 plus boats down to one or two in this sub-region.

To assist with modeling, we provided the latitude coordinates of these already-protected areas...

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