Postprint version. Published in Fisheries, Volume 36, Issue 12, December 1, 2011, pages 593-605.
Collaborative fisheries research provides a mechanism for integrating the unique knowledge, experience, and skills of fishermen and scientists. It is a joint intellectual endeavor that begins with the inception of a project and continues until its final stages, with each group having mutual investment in—and ownership of— the project. Collaborative fisheries research promotes communication and trust among fishermen, scientists, and managers and can provide much-needed scientifically valid data for fisheries management. It can enhance federal and state management data collection programs, which span broad sections of coastline, by increasing the ability to detect changes in local metapopulations that may be overfished or underutilized. We describe a methodology for conducting collaborative fisheries surveys and apply it to marine protected areas along the central California coast. During a series of workshops in 2006, attended by members of the fishing, academic, environmental, and management communities, protocols were established for conducting hook-and-line surveys collaboratively with commercial passenger fishing vessel captains and volunteer recreational anglers. The protocols have been implemented annually since 2007. This case study highlights the effectiveness of—and the essential steps in—developing our collaborative fisheries research and monitoring projects.