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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Six cowcod Sebastes levis caught aboard the 'Patrician' with Capt. M. Thompson in the 1970s. The anglers, from left to right, are R. Wasserman, T. Holland, S. McDainels, and D. Wilson. Photo: courtesy of

Bellquist L, Semmens BX


Temporal and spatial dynamics of ‘trophy’-sized demersal fishes off the California (USA) coast, 1966 to 2013


California recreational fisheries have been documented for over a century, with a range of trends exhibited by many species during this time. Historical size structure information is often limited, and data specific to the largest size classes is even rarer. Dynamics of these ‘trophy’ fishes can serve as an early indicator of overexploitation, especially for demersal species. Bellquist & Semmens developed a new historical database specific to trophy-sized marine fishes in California. Time series analyses showed long-term declines in trophy sizes of some species, but the majority showed recent signs of either stabilization or recovery. Some species also showed signs of stabilization or recovery specifically in the Northern Channel Islands of California region after the network of marine protected areas was implemented in 2003.


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