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Capacity building for marine resource managers in California

CSF staff traveled to Monterey in December to lead a three-day training for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). This short course focused on marine fisheries, and is the third course we have led for the Department. Participants included 17 CDFW staff from the marine region, and one researcher from the California Sea Grant program and UC Santa Cruz. We were able to reach participants in field offices across California using remote access technology and our online workspace.

CSF training California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Natural ResourcesProfessor Steven Hackett presenting at the course. Photo credit: Niki Gribi

We worked closely with Professor Steven Hackett, from Humboldt State University, to develop a curriculum that would be both interesting and illuminating for our audience. We began with an overview of fisheries economics, introducing both the Gordon Model and the standard bio economic model of marine capture fisheries. We then presented the economic perspective on fisheries incentives and regulation, which can sometimes diverge from the biological point of view, and led participants through a fun experimental “fishing” game. On day 2, Professor Hackett delved into the different types of data used in socioeconomic analysis, and how that data is collected. He included examples detailing many studies he has conducted on California’s fisheries over the years, including the sea urchin and spiny lobster fisheries, effects of marine protected areas, and economic “multiplier” effects of California fisheries.

CSF training California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Natural ResourcesCSF Training Director Kim Bonine explains a fisheries game to participants. Photo credit: Niki Gribi

On the final day of the course, CSF founder John Reid joined us to present the methodology and results of a travel cost study we conducted in 2015 on the economic value of California’s recreational abalone fishery. We looked closely at the telephone survey data that was used, and discussed ways to tweak the survey to gather data better suited to economic analysis. After lunch, CSF Training Director Kim Bonine presented results from CSF’s recent study on the value of recreational California halibut fishing, as well as results from of our work on value chains and economic benefits of sustainable sea cucumber management in the Pacific. Kim also led sessions on how to consider broader non-consumptive and non-market natural resource values, and how economists think about illegal behavior such as poaching and fishing in closed waters.

CSF training California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Natural ResourcesCourse participants learn about fisheries regulation through a fun game. Photo credit: Niki Gribi

Participants appreciated the CSF approach and content, and offered this feedback:

“All fisheries scientists should have exposure to more economics and this course was a great start to my learning.”

“I've learned a lot which will help with upcoming regulation review, especially in regards to questions to consider during the process.”

“This course provided things to consider beyond what the Department’s economics paperwork requires. CSF kept the course interesting, and the concepts are valuable.”

We would like to thank Resources Legacy Fund for their generous financial support for this work. We hope to continue working with CDFW over the coming year to bring additional economic tools to bear on natural resource management questions in California.

CSF training California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Natural Resources Participants and instructors. Photo credit: Niki Gribi