Brice Semmens, an assistant professor in the Scripps Marine Biology Research Division, and members of his laboratory, are leading a collaborative research project with local non-profit organizations, including the San Diego Oceans Foundation (SDOF), recreational anglers, and the California Department of Fish and Game to assess the movements, abundance, and mortality of local marine bass species, both inside and outside of reserves in Southern California. For a more detailed description of the project (and if you have tags to report!), please see: http://www.cooperativefishtagging.org/. The fishing charter vessels associated with the project are organized by SDOF.
Tagging efforts in the La Jolla Ecological Reserve are permitted by the California Department of Fish and Game, approved by UCSD IACUC, and carried out in constant consultation with Lifeguard headquarters and local stations. All fish caught inside the reserve are released, without exception.
In order to tag quickly and efficiently, SDOF has been using a charter boat that can take many anglers on a single trip. In this way, the project can limit the number of days imposed on the reserve to just 2-3 per year (this year and next). Semmens is confident that the project's efforts—both to assess local fisheries in the context of spatial management and to engage the recreational fishing community in a science—based assessment of marine resource management—will ultimately provide great benefit to all those who enjoy our coastal resources.