MLMA Master Plan Appendix B. Partnerships and Engagement Efforts in the Amendment of the Master Plan

Information Gathering Projects

Beginning in late 2015 and culminating in early 2017, thirteen “Information Gathering Projects” were conducted to explore and consider new tools, approaches, and products to inform the 2018 Master Plan and development of a draft framework for MLMA-based management. The following provides an overview of Information Gathering Projects, which involved 10 contractor groups of expert scientists and investigators:

  • Approach to Marine Life Management Act-based Management: Based on MLMA objectives, a proposed framework was developed to help focus the Department’s management efforts on fisheries with the greatest management need. The framework also organized the results of Information Gathering Projects into a comprehensive management system designed to fully implement the principles of the MLMA. The proposed framework was modified throughout the amendment process informed by Department priorities and feedback heard from stakeholders during engagement efforts. Department Lead: Paul Reilly; Contractor: Fathom Consulting
  • Productivity and Susceptibility Analysis and Ecological Risk Assessment: Existing PSA and ERA tools were explored as a systematic way to assess the biological and ecological risk of the prosecution of state-managed fisheries to three ecosystem components: target species, bycatch species, and habitats. Results from a PSA conducted on 45 commercial and recreational fisheries are available to help the Department prioritize fisheries management action and inform plans for future data collection and monitoring activities. An existing ERA was modified to meet the Department’s needs for assessing the ecological impacts of fisheries to habitat and bycatch species and was piloted on five fisheries with stakeholders during two workshops. Department Lead: Paul Reilly; Contractor: MRAG Americas and OST
  • Marine Life Management Act-based Assessment Framework: An assessment framework was developed to track management performance under the goals and requirements of the MLMA, providing quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure management outcomes and prioritize resource allocation. The assessment framework was co-developed by CDFW and researchers through an iterative process and pilot tested on nine state-managed fisheries. Department Lead: Tom Mason; Contractor: Center for Ocean Solutions
  • Socioeconomic Value and Opportunity: This project identified the need and opportunities for analyzing and assembling socioeconomic and human dimension information to guide fishery management efforts consistent with the objectives of the MLMA. Department Leads: Debbie Aseltine-Neilson and Ryan Bartling; Contractor: California Sea Grant
  • California Fisheries Data-limited Toolkit: An existing software tool that uses MSE was customized and tested on four fisheries to compare the performance of a number of stock-assessment approaches for data-limited fisheries. Department Leads: Pete Kalvass and Chuck Valle; Contactors: Natural Resources Defense Council and University of British Columbia
  • Streamlined Fishery Management: This project provided guidance on an approach to scale management efforts to the size and complexity of a fishery. A cost-effective, flexible, and streamlined approach to meeting the goals of the MLMA through an MLMA-based management continuum was proposed and ranged from expanded and better-structured (enhanced) status reports to traditional, resource-intensive FMPs. Department Leads: Ian Taniguchi; Contactor: Fathom Consulting
  • Enhanced Status of the Fisheries Reports and Web-based Fisheries Portal: A blueprint for a regularly updated, user-friendly, web-based California Fisheries Portal was developed as an online library to house information on California’s state-managed fisheries. ESRs will be transformed from a static paper or digital document to a dynamic website structure. The portal will be available to the public, fisheries managers, scientists, and others to learn about the state of knowledge about a fishery, management issues, and current research needs. Department Lead: Tom Mason; Contractor: Fathom Consulting
  • Climate Change and Fisheries: This project considered the issue of climate change in the sustainable management of California’s fisheries, provided an evaluation of the effects of changing climate and ocean chemistry on fisheries (including social, ecological, and governance dimensions), and explored ways of building resilience to buffer against potential effects. Department Lead: Debbie Aseltine-Neilson; Contractor: OST
  • Bycatch: The BWG composed of fishermen, NGOs, and state agencies was convened by the Commission to review bycatch and associated issues in California’s fisheries. The BWG helped to inform the draft 2018 Master Plan through their review of bycatch language and definitions, and other action items within the scope of Commission authority. Department/Commission Lead: Susan Ashcraft and Elizabeth Pope
  • Data Review: The Department’s current data collection activities were inventoried and their use and relevance to management evaluated. Recommendations were developed for adapting the Department’s fishery-dependent data collection activities to more closely meet management needs and to leverage existing monitoring programs. Trade-offs between costs, coverage, timeframes for implementation, and potential strategies and partners were also considered. Department Lead: Kirsten Ramey; Contractor: MRAG Americas and Kate Wing Consulting
  • Fisheries Partnerships: Opportunities, benefits, and limitations that partnerships between the Department and fishery stakeholders can play in securing effective and efficient fisheries management were evaluated. The project explored the necessary elements of effective partnerships and the requirements for collaboration across different types of fisheries management activities. Department Leads: Elizabeth Pope and Ian Taniguchi; Contractor: The Nature Conservancy
  • Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit: This project surveyed best practices and developed tools to help managers foster targeted and meaningful stakeholder involvement in fisheries management in California and beyond. Information was assembled to capture a range of stakeholder engagement methods and review considerations such as costs, necessary expertise, benefits, and challenges. Department Leads: Toby Carpenter and Elizabeth Pope; Contractors: Center for Ocean Solutions, Kearns & West, and the University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Peer Review: Using lessons learned from previous peer reviews under the MLMA (e.g., FMP processes), as well as from best practices of other agencies and scientific organizations, this project developed recommendations to help inform the Department’s approach to peer review for FMPs. Department Lead: Pete Kalvass; Contractors: OST

Tribal Communications and Consultation

Throughout the MLMA Master Plan amendment process, the Department reached out to Tribes and tribal communities through direct communications and consultation via the following:

  • Sent letters (June 23, 2016, July 28, 2017, October 11, 2017, and March 12, 2018) to provide general information about the amendment process and:
    • Shared a draft Table of Contents and highlighted tribal communications and consultation as an important component of the draft Master Plan and requested input and feedback;
    • Shared an initial and revised draft of the Master Plan and requested input and feedback;
  • Provided presentations on the status of the amendment process and requests for tribal input at the March 2016, February 2017, June 2017, and February 2018 Commission Tribal Committee meetings;
  • Supported individual conversations with interested Tribes to provide additional information and help to address any questions and concerns; and
  • Sent invitations to public discussions (i.e., conference calls, webinars, workshops, and meetings) about the amendment process.

Stakeholder Engagement

The Department engaged with stakeholders to ensure the Master Plan reflected stakeholder knowledge, expertise, needs, and priorities. Throughout the amendment process, the Department worked to:

  • Support and maintain open lines of communication with target audiences (e.g., Tribes and tribal communities, fishermen, NGOs, citizen scientists, academic institutions, etc.) and key leaders;
  • Learn about the most effective ways to communicate with target audiences and share information about the amendment process; and
  • Share and discuss draft ideas, tools, approaches, and preliminary findings from the Information Gathering Projects, and solicit feedback and input to inform the development of the Master Plan, including a draft framework for MLMA-based management.

During the amendment phase, the Department designed and implemented formal and informal engagement strategies:

  • Developed an internal communications and engagement strategy to identify key goals, target audiences, anticipated outcomes, timeframes, and other Department priorities;
  • Identified and subsequently worked with community leaders, or Key Communicators, that had direct access to target audiences and were willing to play a liaison role to disseminate information and encourage involvement in stakeholder discussions;
  • Conducted informal informational interviews with Key Communicators to learn about appropriate communications tools and pathways, identify local events to participate in, and establish interest in providing feedback on outreach materials development;
  • Engaged with target audiences through in-person meetings and presentations at MRC meetings;
  • Developed outreach materials to summarize and help frame the components of the amendment process, as well as presented the results and findings of the Information Gathering Projects;
  • Utilized a variety of communications channels (i.e., webpage announcements, information blogs, Department e-newsletters, Commission listserv) to share information, outreach materials, and promote participation in stakeholder discussions;
  • Hosted a series of stakeholder discussions in the form of in-person meetings, conference calls, and webinars to share information and solicit feedback; and
  • Shared an initial draft of the Master Plan for stakeholder review and input in advance of the Commission’s formal review process.

Outreach Materials

The Department developed a core set of outreach materials to complement stakeholder discussions and provide additional information on the amendment process. These included the following:

  • Overview of a Draft Framework for MLMA-based Management
  • MLMA Master Plan Amendment Timeline
  • MLMA Objectives Overview
  • Information Gathering Projects Overview
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Additional outreach materials were developed to accompany stakeholder discussions. All outreach materials were made publicly available on the Department’s MLMA Master Plan Amendment webpage.

Stakeholder Discussions

To help ensure the Master Plan reflected stakeholder needs and priorities, the Department engaged with stakeholders during the amendment phase through a series of stakeholder discussions held from December 2016 through December 2017. The goal of these discussions was to share information about the Information Gathering Projects and components of the amendment process and invite input and feedback from diverse perspectives to inform the amendment of the Master Plan. A summary of outreach and stakeholder engagement efforts are available on the Department’s MLMA Master Plan Amendment webpage.

Stakeholder discussions took the form of conference calls, webinars, and a topical presentation at an MRC meeting. Participation at each discussion ranged from 30-75 people. The following is a list of Department-led stakeholder discussions in chronological order. This list does not include routine informational updates at public meetings (i.e., MRC and Tribal Committee meetings).

  • December 13, 2016: A conference call titled “Marine Life Management Act 101: Orientation Brown Bag Conference Call for Interested Stakeholders.”
  • February 1, 2017: A webinar titled “Draft Approach to Scaled Management and a Fisheries Web-based Data Portal.
  • March 23, 2017: A presentation and discussion at the MRC meeting in San Clemente titled, “Considering Stakeholder Engagement in Fisheries Management.”
  • May 25, 2017: A webinar titled, “Management Strategies for Achieving Sustainability of Marine Fisheries Under the MLMA.”
  • July 28, 2017: A webinar titled, “Considering Approaches to Fisheries Partnerships Under the MLMA.”
  • November 9, 2017: A presentation and discussion at the MRC meeting in Marina titled, “Update on the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) Master Plan Amendment.”

Photo at top of page: California spiny lobster. (Greg Amptman/Shutterstock photo)