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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Component

SummaryAs designated by the ground fish regions, identified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
SubtypeNatural Resource System
SectorMarine protected areas
Commons BoundariesSomewhat unclear boundaries (2)
ExplanationIf a fisherman has the exact coordinates of the closed areas to groundfish fishing, it if quite clear with a GPS device where to fish. However, there are many specifications and species-specific closed areas that make it complex where one can fish for what. Rockfish Conservation Areas, or RCAs, are large-scale closed areas with trawl and non-trawl boundaries. These are very clear, but they shift every year or every couple of years according to conditions and assessments, causing some confusion. Within a year, certain seasons have certain specifications (e.g. Mar-April you can fish shore to the 200 fm line but May-June you can fish from the shore to the 150 fm line). Commercial and recreational fishing for groundfish, except "other flatfish" as specified at §§ 660.230, 660.330 and 660.360, is prohibited in waters of depths less than 100-fm (183-m) around Cordell Banks as defined by specific latitude and longitude coordinates at § 660.70. The State of California prohibits commercial and recreational fishing for groundfish (except fishing for "other flatfish" with certain hook and line gears, as specified at §§ 660.230, 660.330 and 660.360) in shallow waters between the shoreline and the 10 fm (18 m) depth contour around each of the Farallon Islands, which are in the Gulf of the Farallones NMS. The Essential fish habitat (EFH) are areas identified to be important to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity and these are very clear.
Environmental Medium 
ExplanationGroundfish are found nearshore and offshore the California coast. Groundfish are named for any species that lives somewhat on the benthos. Habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC) includes estuaries, canopy kelp, sea grass, seamounts and canyons (PFMC A18, 2005).
External Ecological Connectivity 
Internal Ecological Connectivity 
Inter Annual PredictabilityModerate (2)
ExplanationExtensive large-scale recruitment studies have been conducted to determine which years are strong rockfish recruitment. Using the SMURF method (Standard Monitoring Unit for the Recruitment of Fishes), the number of recruits is determined for each recruitment season. Since groundfish are fairly long lived and take many years to grow to maturity, often times predictions are for the fishery in 6 to 30 years time instead of in that year or in the next few years. Climate and upwelling trends have known relationships with recruitment rates. During stock assessments, forecasts for stock size and catch are completed for most species. Stock assessments are done for blue rockfish, California scorpionfish, California sheepshead, Gopher rockfish, Arrowtooth Flounder, Aurora Rockfish, Bank Rockfish, Black Rockfish, Blackgill Rockfish, Blue Rockfish, Bocaccio Rockfish, Cabezon, California Scorpionfish, Canary Rockfish, Chilipepper Rockfish, Cowcod, Darkblotched Rockfish, Dover Sole, English Sole, Gopher Rockfish, Greenspotted Rockfish, Greenstriped Rockfish, Kelp Greenling, Lingcod, Longnose Skate, Longspine Thornyhead, Pacific Ocean Perch, Pacific Sanddab, Pacific Whiting (Hake), Petrale Sole, Sablefish, Sebastes Complex, Shortbelly Rockfish, Shortspine Thornyhead, Spiny Dogfish, Splitnose Rockfish, Starry Flounder, Thornyheads, Vermilion Rockfish, Widow Rockfish, Yelloweye Rockfish, and Yellowtail Rockfish. The habitat for groundfish is usually always there, but sometimes shifts, thus the RCA (Rockfish Conservation Area) coordinates shift from year to year.
Intra Annual PredictabilityLow (1)
ExplanationForecasts for stock size and catch are completed for future years, instead of within years. However, seasonality of fish allows for some predictability. For example, Pacific whiting is not expected in January, but would be expected in April through June (PFMC 2015). Other species such as petrel sole and other flatfish migrate seasonally from spending the winter spawning in deep water (November–February) to spending the summer in shallow water while they feed summer (March–October) (Fishwatch, 2015). However, within a year, the size of the population is not as well forecasted as for future years, but quotas are measured throughout the year to assess fishing pressure.
Commons RenewabilityRenewable (1)
ExplanationThis is moderately renewable. Biotic habitat (kelp) is more so renewable than rocks. Most are long living species but are quite slow growing (especially many rockfish species) (McCain et al. 2005). Overexploitation of California rockfish stocks have led to a reduction in age at maturity, a decrease in fecundity, and a change in gonadal index (Adams 1980; Gunderson et al. 1980). The kelp forests and sea grass areas are renewable, while the rocky shores are somewhat renewable.
ProductivityModerately Productive (2)
ExplanationMany groundfish species are very slow growing and take multiple years to mature and reproduce. The kelp forests are very productive, while rocky bottoms are not as productive.
Commons AccessibilitySomewhat accessible (2)
ExplanationAccessible with the right equipment. Equipped and permitted vessels, the correct gear type, GPS devices, and other efficiency technologies make finding groundfish habitats fairly accessible, particularly with depth sounders and other oceanic viewers to search for preferred depths and bottom types.
Commons HeterogeneityModerate (2)
ExplanationThe Essential Fish Habitat map shows that the southern end of the sanctuaries is quite patchy, while there are larger areas for ESH toward the north. Kelp forests, rocky reefs, and sea grasses can also be quite patchy.
Commons Spatial Extent16588
ExplanationA rough estimate based on the EFH map: 60% of area: so 60% of 10,675 square miles, 27,648 square kilometers = 16,588 square kilometers Cordell Bank: 1,286 square miles Gulf of the Farallones: 3,295 square miles Monterey Bay: 6,094 square miles
Technical SubstituteNo