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Environmental Justice, Marine Protected Areas, & Ocean Access in California -- Ocean_Justice

Cite this dataset

Daniels, Ariel; Flavin, Kennedy; Vezard, Melissa; Plummer, Morgan (2024). Environmental Justice, Marine Protected Areas, & Ocean Access in California -- Ocean_Justice [Dataset]. Dryad.


Coastal California is home to a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that aim to safeguard the state’s marine resources and ecosystems. Little is known about who is served and not served by California’s MPAs, with large gaps in environmental justice implications. Our study aimed to investigate access to MPAs across communities in California using multiple lines of evidence, with a focus on subsistence fishers (pier fishers and others who do not sell their catch) who are often indirectly marginalized by MPAs. To address this, we 1) conducted a literature review on equity and environmental justice (EEJ) in California’s ocean management policies, 2) compared time traveled to MPAs for zip codes of different demographics, 3) conducted a literature review on subsistence fishing in California, and 4) compared demographics of subsistence fishers with intensity of ocean-based pollution linked to fished species. Our EEJ literature review highlighted a gap in policies addressing equitable ocean access. Our spatial analysis revealed disparities in coastal access by age, race, and income. Our subsistence fishing literature review highlighted that little is known about California’s current subsistence fishing, though biophysical aspects are better studied than socioeconomic aspects. Our analysis of pollution and subsistence fishing suggested that many subsistence fishers from disadvantaged communities are fishing in areas with high pollution. State and federal agencies can utilize our results to develop effective future management strategies for equitable access to California’s MPAs that take disadvantaged communities into account, especially subsistence fishers, to increase their representation in the decision-making process.

README: Environmental Justice, Marine Protected Areas, & Ocean Access in California-- Ocean_Justice

Information regarding the Ocean Access analysis, the Hotspot analysis, and the literature reviews portion of the project are found in the attached folder linked below. 

The mec_bren_deliverables folder contains each of the subset folders for the different analyses. The subsequent folders pertaining to the Ocean Access Analysis include mec_bren_final_data_original, mec_bren_final_data_results, mec_bren_final_gis_packages, and mec_bren_final_r_projects. These five folders contain a subset folder titled Ocean_Access, subsistence_fishing, and ej_access which contains the related data.

Description of the data and file structure

Folder Contents

  • mec_bren_deliverables
    • Mec_bren_final_data_original
    • ej_access
      • All_access_zipcode_driving.txt (Routes data by zip codes)
      • All_access_zipcode_driving.gpkg (Routes data by zip codes)
      • Calenviroscreen40shpf2021shp (Folder containing the CalEnviroScreen 4.0 data with all of the EJ indicators used)
    • subsistence_fishing
      • jacksmelt.csv (jacksmelt data)
      • redrockcrab.csv (redrock crab data)
      • dungenesscrab.csv (dungeness crab data)
      • chubmackerel.csv (chub mackerel data)
      • impact_pollution.tif (pollution data)
      • ca_curr_sp_rich.tif (species richness data)
      • northernanchovy.csv (northern anchovy data)
      • mm_merged_i3.csv
      • mm_merged_i2.csv
      • merged_cleaned_mmCDFW (1).csv
      • driver.R
      • load_organize_remove_pii_bb.R
      • load_organize_remove_pii_mm.R
      • bb_merged_i3.csv
      • bb_merged_i1.csv
      • mm_merged_i1.csv
      • bb_merged_i2.csv
    • Mec_bren_final_data_results
    • ej_access
      • All_access.csv (All Access Points data)
      • (Race data)
    • subsistence_fishing
      • num_subfishers_zip.csv
      • num_subfishers_cnty.csv
      • merged_cleaned_mmCDFW.csv
      • allcol_merged_mmCDFW.csv
    • mec_bren_final_gis_packages
    • ej_access
      • Disadvantaged_Groups_via_zipcode.ppkx (ArcGIS project containing EJ indicators such as poverty, age (above 65) and race)
    • subsistence_fishing
      • Hotspot_Analysis_anchovy_duncrab.aprx (ArcGIS project containing northern anchovy and dungeness crab)
      • Hotspot_Analysis_redrock_jacksmelt_mackerel.aprx (ArcGIS project containing redrock crab, jacksmelt, and mackerel)
    • mec_bren_final_r_projects
    • ej_access
      • Disadvantaged_via_zipcodes_distance.Rmd
      • Disadvantaged_via_zipcodes_Race.Rmd
      • examples.Rmd (shows the graphs for the statistical tests/significance)

Sharing/Access information

Data was derived from the following sources:



Data Collection:

Data included in this repository includes: A literature review on subsistence fishers in Californina, a literature review on equity and environmental justice as it relates to ocean access, GIS data used for spatial analysis as it related to subsistence fishers and environmental justice indicators, previously collected data from CalEnviroScreen, and pollution data sourced from the NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Data Processing:

This repository includes subsets of databases from RStudio and Arc Pro. In the data which is relevant to environmental justice and access to California MPAs, including for example percentage of poverty, age of people 65 and older, race, and overall score of disadvantage per zip code. 

A link to the subsistence data process: Work_Log_Notes.pdf