Scientific Peer Review: Guidance and Recommendations for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife & Scientific Peer Review for Red Abalone and Pacific Herring

Project Summary

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently completed the process of updating its MLMA Master Plan for Fisheries. The Ocean Protection Council supported various information gathering projects as part of the Master Plan update process. For one of these projects, OPC provided a grant to  the Ocean Science Trust to provide guidance on ways to further standardize and streamline the peer review process for Fishery Management Plans and other management documents with a scientific basis. The first project component was creating a document that summarizes scientific peer review best practices, provides a suite of peer review options, describes the type of review process most appropriate for a given work product, and discusses stakeholder engagement in the peer review process. This guidance was ultimately incorporated in Chapter 10 of CDFW’s Master Plan for Fisheries. The second component of the grant supported Ocean Science Trust leading the scientific peer review process, in collaboration with CDFW and OPC, for both the Pacific Herring Fishery Management Plan and the Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan that are in development.

Timeline: August 2016 – December 2018

Grant Amount: Up to $110,000

Grantee: California Ocean Science Trust

Photo: “Mola in the Kelp” by Michael Job


The Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) emphasizes using “the best available scientific information” to inform fisheries management (MLMA section 7050(b)(6)). It also underscores the role of scientific peer review in the development of Fishery Management Plans, research protocols, and other documents that have a scientific basis (section 7062(a)).

On June 20, 2018, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) adopted a new Master Plan for Fisheries, as specified by the MLMA (section 7073). The Master Plan incorporates recommendations and practices from the aforementioned scientific peer review guidance developed through this grant into Chapter 10 of the Master Plan.

Red Abalone Peer Review

Pacific Herring Peer Review

Relevant Links


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