California Current Joint Venture: A Partnership for the California Current Ecosystem
The California Current Joint Venture is an initiative designed to build partnerships and facilitate collaboration among entities who share an interest in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem.
Building Collaboration at the Regional Scale
The California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME), stretching from British Columbia to Baja California, is a globally significant natural resource that hosts abundant and diverse marine life. The CCLME is home to fishery and tourism industries essential to the coastal economies of North America.
There is significant agreement that our current governance and communication structures are inadequate to support the most effective management of the CCLME. Cooperation across political boundaries and diverse cultures needs to increase, and we need to examine and respond to problems in an ecosystem context and at the ecosystem scale.
Recognizing these issues and others, both the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission have recommended the United States improve collaboration and cooperation at the regional scale. These reports acknowledge the critical need for public participation and transparency of information to ensure lasting, comprehensive results.
PRBO has seen through our work with terrestrial Habitat Joint Ventures and others, that partnerships often improve the results of conservation and management efforts. Through partnerships, we can build trust, common language, and a shared understanding of circumstances and issues – all of which improves our ability to manage and protect natural resources.
The California Current Joint Venture (Joint Venture) is a partnership among stakeholders in pursuit of common goals. The coalition will include stakeholders from across the region and address issues at the ecosystem scale. The Joint Venture targets its efforts on improving our understanding, use, and enjoyment of the natural resources of the CCLME so that they will be readily available to future generations.
Satellite image of the central portion of the CCS (central California), which shows areas of strong coastal upwelling, indicated by the blue (low sea-surface temperatures).
Facilitating Ecosystem-based Management
There is considerable interest in and support for pursuing marine ecosystem-based management – an approach for managing our activities in a way that considers the relationships among all ecosystem components, including humans, when choosing a course of action.
· One of the five goals identified in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Strategic Plan is to, “Protect, restore, and manage the use of coastal and ocean resources through an ecosystem approach to management.”
· The Pacific Fishery Management Council is preparing an Ecosystem-based Fishery Management Plan.
· Ecosystem-based management is compatible with the ocean resource management goals of Washington, Oregon, and California state governments, and a priority area in the West Coast Governors' Agreement.
· There’s a lot of interest in and support for pursuing ecosystem-based management within many interest groups.
As ocean managers pursue ecosystem-based management, it’s important for stakeholders to understand what it means, and to participate in expanding our knowledge base and the development and implementation of new policies. Through participation by stakeholders and transparency of information, we can help ensure successful implementation of the concept on a large scale.
Developing and Applying Food-web Science
Implementing ecosystem-based management in the marine environment requires that we better understand the trophic relationships within the food web. The interactions among species – such as competition and predation – directly influence ocean productivity. We can make better management choices when we consider these relationships, as well as the physical environment in which they take place, particularly in the face of global climate change.
The first project of the Joint Venture is the West Coast Forage Fish Project.
Our overall goals are to:
Advance ecosystem-based management, and the research and policies that accompany it, for forage species in the California Current ecosystem
Facilitate collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders within the California Current ecoregion to achieve common goals.
Working in partnership with a Steering Committee, PRBO has produced a report that provides information to people interested in ecosystem-based management of forage speices. The report identifies problems and makes recommendations to address challenges associated with:
- Natural variability of the ecosystem
- Ecosystem-based fishery management plans
- Fishery sustainability
- Ocean habitat
- Global market demand
- Public awareness and involvement
- Forage species ecology and biology
- Predator requirements
- Global climate change
- Ecosystem models
The recommendation in the report can be implemented by federal, state, and local natural resource managers, members of the environmental and fishing communities, philanthropic and educational organizations, and members of the public.
For information on future projects of the CCJV, please contact PRBO's Director of Education and Outreach, Melissa Pitkin.
Male Steller’s Sea Lion on the Farallon Islands.