Conserving California fish … Extension approaches applied to contentious marine-fisheries management issues
are common property, and with few exceptions participants do not have exclusive harvest rights. Fishermen are primarily small-scale, individual, owner-operators of vessels who compete intensely for a limited renewable resource in California's extremely variable marine environment. Over the past 30 years, the fishing industry has evolved from the development and expansion phase to recent declines in production and participation. The industry is challenged by the closure of some fisheries and
... e fisheries and fishing locations, increased regulation and REVIEW ARTICLE Christopher M. Dewees Kristen Sortais William S. Leet We describe three creative collaborations between the California Sea Grant Extension Program (SGEP), the California Department of Fish and Game, the fishing industry and university researchers to improve marine fisheries management in California. These collaborations involved difficult and long-standing issues at a time when many fisheries are declining. The cases studied highlight SGEP's involvement in (1) implementing California's comprehensive marine-life management legislation, (2) helping the sea urchin industry identify goals and techniques to achieve them, and (3) using extension methodologies to enhance socioeconomic research related to management of the Dungeness crab fishery. Critical components of SGEP methods were trust, independence and nonadvocacy, a science-based approach, and effective communication. These characteristics are seldom found together among diverse participants involved in contentious fisheries-management situations. We demonstrate how extension programs can partner with constituents and agencies to improve the management and research process; this approach can be applied to the broad range of natural-resource issues facing the state.