We Want Your Help to Study Fish Populations in Crystal Cove’s State Marine Conservation Area!
For the past several years, Crystal Cove Conservancy has partnered with Newport Whales, Crystal Cove State Park, UC Irvine researchers, and junior high and high school students from across Southern California to monitor the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area during one of our education programs, the Marine Protected Area Science Cruise.
Now, we need your help to analyze some of the fish population data collected during the cruises to look for trends!
Background on the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area
Southern California’s system of Marine Protected Areas (commonly shortened to MPAs) were officially established on January 1, 2012. This network of offshore, underwater parks is intended to help manage marine resources and protect marine ecosystems from potential threats like overfishing.
Crystal Cove’s State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is located just offshore from Crystal Cove State Park. As an SMCA, nothing is allowed to be taken from the area’s tidepool habitat, but fishing is otherwise permitted.
Crystal Cove Conservancy has been helping to monitor the Crystal Cove SMCA since 2012 through our MPA Science Cruises, which enlist the help of junior high and high school students to step into the role of community scientists and collect data on fish populations, plankton species, and water quality. By monitoring these key indicators, we hope to understand how well the SMCA is fulfilling its intent of protecting marine resources.
That’s where we need your help! We want to know how our fish populations are changing over time since the creation of the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area. Students onboard the Marine Protected Area Science Cruises have been recording GoPro videos of Crystal Cove’s kelp forests and rocky reefs to help determine how our fish population in changing. Now, we need your help to determine if the MPA regulations are working by analyzing the fish videos and our existing dataset to determine if the fish population has changed over time.
Learn more about the MPAs
If you want more information about MPAs in California, check out these resources:
- California MPA Maps & Regulations
- California MPAs
- California’s MPA Network on Youtube
- California Marine Sportfish Identification
- Kelp Forests
Check out some some of our GoPro fish videos
See if you can use our SMCA Fish field guide to identify fish in the following videos, which were recorded during previous Marine Protected Area Science Cruises: