What's happening with the Morro Bay economy?



Everyone knows that the Morro Bay economy has seen great change over the past few decades and everyone has a theory about why this has happened. We've developed an interactive webpage to look at change in parts of Morro Bay's coastal economy and possible reasons why this change has come about. We've pulled together data that will help you explore your own ideas about change in the Morro Bay economy. Please click on the button below to explore our data on the commercial rockfish fishery in Morro Bay and to test your ideas by taking our interactive survey.

Data Summary and Survey
Principal Scientists:

  Dean Wendt, PhD
For more information contact:

  Melissa Locke, JD

Marine Economy


The economies of Morro Bay and Port San Luis depend on the diverse array of resources provided by the estuary and coastal ecosystems. Activities like tourism, recreational and commercial fishing, growing of oysters and abalone, surfing and wildlife viewing all create jobs and boost the economy of coastal communities.

In recent years, Morro Bay and Port San Luis have experienced growth in tourism and recreation, but they have also steadily lost jobs and businesses on the harbors and in the ports. Limited research is available on the relationship between the changes in the ecosystem and the impact those changes have on the local economy.

Without solid economic data, it is increasingly difficult for policymakers to make informed decisions about the local economy and where to invest more resources to strengthen jobs, tourism and recreation on the Central Coast.

SLOSEA's Approach:

The San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance (SLOSEA) is working to ensure the waterfront industry remains a vibrant part of the local economy by:

  • Gathering solid economic data to inform local and regional policy decisions that affect the waterfront businesses and the environment.
  • Developing an interactive Web site where decision makers and the public can explore the linkages between the health of the ecosystem and the local waterfront economy.
  • Creating an outline or template for taking economic considerations into account when evaluating ecosystem tradeoffs.
  • Using available data about the diversity of the ecosystem to help evaluate economic considerations in choices and tradeoffs affecting other SLOSEA strategies such as pollution and fisheries management.
  • Quantifying the economic benefits of SLOSEA's conservation efforts.
  • Encouraging the collection of comparable data in other Pacific coastal communities to understand similarities, differences and opportunities for improvement.