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Background of the development of Socioeconomic Impacts of Marine Reserves - Channel Islands NMS Marine Reserves

The following is the background and some of the history of the development of the socioeconomic analysis of marine protected areas in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.


The Marine Reserves Working Group (MRWG) was asked in 1999 to develop, within two years, a consensus-based "preferred alternative" recommendation for marine reserves. CORE economists (Bob Leeworthy and Peter Wiley) first reviewed all available socioeconomic literature and data that could support the process, and did a gap analysis to identify key pieces of missing information. This was presented to the MRWG in June 2000 in a report entitled “A Socioeconomic Overview of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties as it Relates to Marine-related Industries and Activities." The report concluded that a serious lack of information hindered socioeconomic analysis of marine reserves.

The Socioeconomic Panel

In 2000, CORE economists assembled a Socioeconomic Panel to gather information and review data collection and analyses. For commercial fisheries, two contractors were selected based on their access to fishermen and their fisheries experience. Dr. Caroline Pomeroy of the University of California-Santa Cruz was selected for the squid/wetfish fisheries, and Dr. Craig Barilotti of Sea Foam Enterprises, Inc., San Diego was selected for all other fisheries, including kelp harvesting. Dr. Charles Kolstad of the University of California- Santa Barbara was selected for the for-hire recreation industry. Peter Wiley of CORE developed information for private household recreation use from a variety of sources.

For both commercial fisheries and the recreation industry, information was organized at a spatial resolution of square minutes and placed into the ArcView geographic information system for mapping and analysis.


CORE economists developed economic models to translate commercial catch and recreational person-days into socioeconomic impact measures. More than 20 boundary alternatives were analyzed for the MRWG and other interest groups that wanted special analyses. Alternatives A, B, C, and D were the first alternatives analyzed for the MRWG, followed by E and I (F, G and H were interim alternatives developed for specific members of the MRWG in developing alternatives E and I). One can obtain “Data Distributions and Exclusion Zones: Commercial fishing – Recreation" in Appendix C in the Socioeconomic Impact Analysis, listed below in "Reports." Appendix C includes data and maps for commercial fishing and the recreation industry, except for commercial fishing species/species groups that the FDC did not approve for public release.


The MRWG completed its two-year process without reaching a consensus-based preferred alternative for marine reserves in the CINMS. Thus, it was left to the State of California and the CINMS to construct a preferred alternative. CORE economists analyzed six (6) alternatives, one of which is the CINMS' and California Department of Fish and Game’s preferred alternative. CORE economists contributed the socioeconomic sections of the Final Environmental Document: Marine Protected Areas in NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (commonly called the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) Document). Based on this analysis and numerous responses to critiques and questions, the State of California designated the state portion of the Preferred Alternative. After the State of California completed the process of designating marine reserves in state water portions of the CINMS, the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the CINMS continued the process for the portion of marine reserves in federal waters. CORE economists also did all the socioeconomic impact analyses to support the Federal process.

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