Over the past several years, the National Fisheries Conservation Center has worked with the National MPA Center, NOAA Fisheries, the State of California, several conservation groups, and industry representatives on several projects that examined the interface between the creation of protected areas and fisheries management. By applying tools that were little used in fisheries at the time, such as the scientific consensus conference, decision analysis, and joint fact-finding, as well as cross-jurisdictional case study methods, NFCC provided its audiences and partners information and methods that improved their ability to navigate the complexities of MPA designation and its integration with fishery management.
With support from a large number of public and private sponsors, NFCC designed and implemented a consensus conference to evaluate the potential value of marine reserves as a fisheries management tool. Using the National Institutes of Health’s consensus conference format, NFCC prepared extensive background material and empaneled a group of experts to develop the conference questions. The conference itself included presentations by a number of marine reserves experts to a review panel of marine scientists, who then prepared a consensus statement.