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Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP)

HSWRI Project Leaders – Mark Drawbridge, Don Kent, and Mike Shane

Goal – The purpose of the OREHP is to investigate the potential for proactively counteracting the depletion of California’s coastal marine fisheries by stocking cultured fishes.

Importance – Increasing human populations and changing environmental conditions have placed increasing pressure on living marine resources.  Fisheries managers continue to seek methods to effectively manage these resources.  Not surprisingly, most of these management measures are restrictive relative to when, where and how fish can be harvested.  Stock replenishment is a proactive means of supplementing natural processes, especially among vulnerable species.

Background – The OREHP began in 1982 with legislation that funds the program through the sale of recreational and commercial marine enhancement stamps on fishing licenses of all saltwater anglers south of Point Arguello, California.  The program is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) with the assistance of an advisory panel consisting of academic and management agency scientists, representatives of both commercial and recreational fishing groups, and the aquaculture industry.  Unique to this program is the involvement of volunteer groups, primarily fishing clubs and individual anglers, who help to raise the fish to a large release size in nearshore growout facilities. These groups contribute upwards of 20,000 volunteer hours annually to the project.

Methods and Results – Since the Program’s first releases in 1986, HSWRI scientists have tagged and released more than 2 million juvenile white seabass into embayments and near-shore coastal areas in southern California.  From these fish releases, data has been collected from more than 1,200 tag recoveries.  Among the tag recoveries are several that were at liberty for more than 12 years.

Why does this research matter? – This research is critical in helping expand the tool box of fisheries managers in the United States and elsewhere.  It seeks to support vibrant ecosystems and, in doing so, resiliency among coastal industries including tourism.

Funding and Donation Opportunities – Donor support of $150,000 is needed toward the project and its staff annually.

Current Publications

  • Gruenthal, K.M., B.J. Gauger, and M.A. Drawbridge. 2014. Maternal reproductive exhaustion in a broadcast spawning marine finfish cultured for conservation.  Aquaculture 422-423:129-135.
  • Hervas, S., K. Lorenzen, M.A. Shane, and M.A. Drawbridge. 2010. Quantitative assessment of a white seabass (Atractoscion nobilis) stock enhancement program in California: post-release dispersal, growth and survival. Fisheries Research 105: 237–243.
  • Gruenthal, K.M., and M.A. Drawbridge.   Toward responsible stock enhancement: broadcast spawning dynamics and adaptive genetic management in white seabass aquaculture.  Evolutionary Applications 5:405-417.

Related Historical Publications

  • Bartley, D.M., D.B. Kent, and M.A. Drawbridge.   Conservation of genetic diversity in a white seabass hatchery enhancement program in southern California.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 15:249-258.
  • Kent, D.B., M.A. Drawbridge, and R.F. Ford.   Accomplishments and roadblocks of a marine stock enhancement program for white seabass in California.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 15:492-498.
  • Drawbridge, M.A.   Chapter 11: The Role of Aquaculture in the Restoration of Coastal Fisheries.  In: Ecological Aquaculture, the Evolution of the Blue Revolution.  Barry Costa-Pierce (ed).  Blackwell Science.  Osney Mead, Oxford.  p. 314-336.