Marine Reserves News: How Recreational Anglers Have Been Affected and An Underwater Tour

A Deeper Dive

How Have Recreational Anglers Been Affected
by Oregon’s Marine Reserves?


ODFW’s human dimensions research investigates how Oregon’s marine reserves impact communities. A recent study conducted this summer was focused on the recreational angling community. We sent an online survey to Oregon residents who purchased an angling license in 2019. Thanks to the 7,582 anglers who completed the survey, we now have some preliminary results to share with you.

First, we wanted to know how much recreational anglers knew about the marine reserves. Most respondents (59%) said that they were aware that Oregon had marine reserves. We then asked only those participants who were aware of the reserves follow-up questions about marine reserve knowledge and perceptions.

We provided a list of 20 names and asked respondents to select the five correct marine reserve names. For example, a correct answer would be “Cape Falcon Marine Reserve” while an incorrect answer would be “Fort Stevens Marine Reserve.” Many (48%) selected the option “I don’t know” and didn’t select any names. Of those who did select names from the list, the average score was 36% correct (1.8/5) with few (14%) correctly selecting all five names. The next question was more difficult and asked respondents where the marine reserves were located within zones on a map of the coast. Even fewer (2%) correctly identified all five locations.

We then asked the participants if a marine reserve had caused them to change their angling behavior, with 3,898 (88%) saying no. Of those who said yes, 46% still fished in the same general area and 29% fished in the ocean more than five miles from where they previously fished. Some (18%) chose to only fish in freshwater now, and 3% fished closer to a marine reserve.

When we asked respondents if they supported or opposed the reserves, 11% of respondents opposed the current Oregon marine reserve system, 43% supported the reserves, and 46% had no opinion.

graph of angler responses

These are preliminary results which have not yet been weighted by demographics. We are continuing to run additional analyses and will be writing our report soon, so stay tuned.

Button: More Human Dimensions Research

Fishing vessel at sunset

Reflecting on Returning to the Reserves

By Guest Contributor Vaughn Robison

There are deep, sometimes unfathomable relationships to areas of the ocean now encompassed by Oregon’s marine reserves. Our series, Returning to the Reserves, shares the stories of coastal residents who forged a relationship with an area in one capacity prior to its designation as a marine reserve, but later returned to it in another role. We profiled a fisherman who returned as science collaborator, an urchin diver-turned fisheries scientist who returned as a research field station manager, and an ecologist from an environmental non-profit who has returned each field season as part of long-term monitoring projects. Their expanded roles and rich histories of attaching to and depending on these areas offer insight and understanding of the reserves and their impacts on people.

These impacts, we found, varied dramatically from one person and one marine reserve to the next. Read on to hear their stories.

Read More

Link to underwater tour video

Video: Dive-in to this virtual underwater tour of Oregon’s five marine reserves and experience what lies beneath the surface, in this 5 minute video.

Updates From the Field


Fall Season: Staff are submerged in data analysis and writing which will continue through the fall. This is part of the development of the ODFW Marine Reserves Program Synthesis Report, which will report on the program’s activities and monitoring over the last 10 years. The Synthesis Report will be released in early 2022.

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