User-friendly online access to California ocean species and fisheries information

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is a worldwide leader in science-based marine resource management. When the Department recognized it needed to engage more effectively with stakeholders and the broader public through its website, we helped to chart the course.


Resources Legacy Fund

In consultation with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Ocean Protection Council, Fathom Consulting, and Strategic Earth Consulting


Before we were brought in, the State of California had developed a Master Plan for Fisheries that called for creation of a new online source of information about marine fish and invertebrates, especially Enhanced Status Reports for select species. We were engaged to design and build a functional prototype of the California Fisheries Portal. Subsequently, we were engaged to design and build a  “webified” version of the Master Plan itself, previously available only as a downloadable PDF document, to make it an engaging, useful, and easy-to-use online resource.


We began by learning about the current fisheries management landscape in California, the overarching vision for the Portal, and the ideas and feedback that had been obtained through initial stakeholder consultations. Collaborating with the Department and a team of public engagement facilitators, we were able to gain important insight into how and why these online resources would be used, and by whom. We designed and built the prototype using an iterative process, incorporating feedback provided by a stakeholder advisory group, with a focus on providing an engaging and successful user experience (UX) for a broad audience ranging from beachgoers to fisheries scientists. For the Master Plan, we interviewed stakeholders to gather input on how a web version of the Plan could best meet their needs. The main challenge was to adapt a 247-page document into a website that would provide all the same content while offering a user-friendly experience. While designing and building the site, we added value to the webified Master Plan by incorporating interactivity, intuitive navigation, and an attractive yet highly functional look and feel.


The Department built out the Portal using the design that we developed and named it the California Marine Species Portal, expanding it beyond fisheries species. It is now featured on the main landing page for marine resources management in California. Following the launch, the Department hosted a webinar to introduce the Portal to the public and has actively added more species. We initially launched the Master Plan for Fisheries website at its own URL. We are now working with the Department to migrate it onto their website, where it will be used as a communications tool for the state’s marine fisheries management program.

The Marine Species Portal is a dynamic, web-based tool that provides information on California marine species. The Portal provides overviews of many different species, fisheries, current management and monitoring efforts, and future management and informational needs for these species.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

California Marine Species Portal Mockup
California Marine Species Portal Mockup

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