Peer Review and California Fisheries Management

We built upon scientific peer review best practices and provided guidance to the State to ensure rigorous science informs California fisheries management.

Now Available!

Peer Review: Guidance and Recommendations for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife” (June 2017)

This report provides a suite of review options that can be widely applied to meet California’s existing and future fishery management needs, with a focus on review of science supporting fishery management plans (FMPs).


The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), on behalf of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), has asked Ocean Science Trust to build upon scientific peer review (hereafter, peer review) best practices and provide guidance to the State on peer review as an adaptable tool for ensuring rigorous science is integrated across California’s fishery management continuum.

This guidance will help support cost-effectiveness, consistency, predictability, and transparency in the implementation of future fisheries peer reviews on behalf of CDFW, including the upcoming Pacific herring and red abalone fishery management plans to be administered by Ocean Science Trust in 2017.


Project timeline: December 2016 – March 2017

The existing Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) Master Plan for Fisheries (Master Plan) identifies formal scientific peer review as a method to ensure the soundness of scientific information used in making California fishery management decisions. The scope, process, and independence of these reviews have varied widely in the past, ranging from individual written reviews to complex panel workshops. Given increasing demands for and complexity of fishery peer reviews in California, CDFW is seeking guidance on ways to formalize peer review practices, building off provisions in the existing Master Plan.

As such, Ocean Science Trust has been tasked with providing recommendations and guidance for planning and conducting peer reviews on behalf of CDFW. Recommendations will focus on highlighting appropriate peer review processes that align with the level and complexity of management efforts outlined by CDFW in the MLMA-based management continuum, with an emphasis on guidance for review of fishery management plans.


We convened an Advisory Committee composed of an Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team member and other experts to provide input throughout this project.

  • Chris Costello, Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
  • E.J. Dick, Research Fishery Biologist, Fisheries Ecology Division, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center
  • Manoj Shivlani, Lead Coordinator, Center for Independent Experts


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