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Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative

Fisheries Uses and Values Project

Interview Process (commercial fishermen)

What to expect during the interview

boatEcotrust personnel will ask a series of questions about the fishery, and the personal experience of each fisherman being interviewed. The bulk of the interview will focus on characterizing the fishing grounds and their relative importance to each respondent. This is done using an imaginary bag of 100 pennies, which are allocated to areas of higher use and greater economic significance. Ecotrust personnel will capture this information using a computer interface, "OceanMap", which contains electronic charts and a series of tools for entering information. Respondents will draw or describe areas directly on this electronic interface, allocate pennies, and capture other important information. OceanMap collects the information in a geospatial, relational database that forms the basis for the subsequent analysis.

What happens with the information?

Ecotrust analysts in our Portland, OR, office will standardize and compile all the responses. These are then added up and result in a series of maps that show the total extent of the fishing grounds for each fishery, as well as the areas of greater use or greater economic significance. Gradations of color will indicate areas where more pennies were allocated, effectively showing areas that are more frequently used and/or more important. These intermediary products will be validated in a series of follow-up meetings in ports and by fishery, to make sure that we captured the information correctly.

Due to the sensitive nature of commercial fishing information, only Ecotrust staff (operating under a strict confidentiality protocol) will handle the raw data generated during the interviews. All information collected in the interviews is anonymous and confidential on the individual level. All analyses and results will be presented in aggregate form, and will be reviewed in aggregate form by participating fishermen from each fishery. The information will be used to create a comprehensive picture of the commercial fishing use patterns and values along California's south coast, and may also be written up in a peer-reviewed journal.

Results from this project will be made available to the fishermen and MLPA Initiative staff for use in the context of the MLPA Initiative and the discussion, implementation, and management of marine protected areas in state and federal waters off California — specifically the South Coast Regional Stakeholder Group and Science Advisory Team.

All participants, whose explicit consent will be recorded by Ecotrust personnel, agree to let their information be used in this manner.

Why participate? Why tell the truth?

This project is designed to bring better information to the MLPA and other MPA processes in California, using fishermen's knowledge of the fishing grounds and giving an explicit place for their socioeconomic values. The information collected in this project considerably improves on what is currently available, especially for several important fisheries that would otherwise be seen through landing blocks. Using the better, more spatially refined information from the fishermen respondents interviewed for this project helps overcome the "garbage in, garbage out" problem that has plagued other marine planning processes. There is every incentive to tell the truth: this project is a unique opportunity to bring fishermen's knowledge directly to bear on MPA planning in California. Any strategic reporting or misrepresenting the actual fishing grounds has the potential to do more harm than good, recreating the "garbage in, garbage out" problem. We have designed the methods and process to minimize this problem, and will work very closely with fishermen and the Regional Stakeholder Group on validating and verifying the information collected in this project.

Your willingness to participate and/or to refer fishermen we should contact is not only appreciated, but indeed vital to the success of this project.

Our Work

Community-Based Fisheries Management

Marine Planning

Marine Life Protection Act Initiative

Life-Cycle Assessment of Salmon Fisheries


Learn More

Incorporation of Spatial and Economic Analyses of Human-Use Data in the Design of Marine Protected Areas, Conservation Biology, 12/22/10.

Ecotrust & MLPA Initiative FAQ (23kb pdf)

Interview Process (commercial)

Interview Process (recreational)

Interview Sign-up (recreational)

Fishermen Presentation (North Coast) (1.0mb pdf)

Fisheries Uses and Values Project - Commercial Fishery Questionnaire (2008) (256Kb pdf)

North Coast Information Packet:

Plans for the upcoming North Coast interview process: North Coast Information Packet (65kb pdf)


Field Notes

California's Coastal Reserves by Daniel Etra, July 2007


Charles Steinback
Director of Marine Planning
tel: 503.467.0777
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Cheryl Chen
Marine Project Manager
tel: 503.467.0812
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Jon Bonkoski
GIS Analyst
tel: 503.467.0804
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Jennifer Bloeser
Marine Planning Business Manager
tel: 503.467.0785
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