Caring for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy, and citizen action.
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Supporting Marine Protected Areas

Protecting Our Coast: Marine Protected Areas - Our newest video about MPAs, premired at the State of the Central Coast Symposium in February 2013.

Marine Protected Areas
In 1999, California made history when The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) was signed, directing the state to reexamine and redesign California’s system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Bringing together scientists, fishermen, conservationists, business owners, residents, and Fish & Game officials, it created a long-term plan to restore and protect California’s most unique and threatened marine environments.

What are MPAs?
Just as parks on land protect special lands and wildlife from overdevelopment, these underwater parks preserve California’s stunning marine ecosystems for future generations to observe and enjoy. The first of its kind in the nation, these areas have been called “hope spots” because they are our best hope in restoring the beauty and bounty of ocean life threatened by overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction.

For MPAs to truly have a chance to work as intended, compliance with the regulations has to occur and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Wardens are on task to see that they are successful. MPA education and outreach is a critical component to encourage compliance but also community support for MPAs and reporting of violations will ensures the future success of MPAs. Save Our Shores will continue to do our part engaging and educating the public about the value and benefit our network of MPAs will provide for California.

Get Involved!
Enjoy your marine reserves! Thriving protected areas provide a great environment for swimming, kayaking, diving, snorkeling and tidepooling.

Throughout California, residents are embracing marine reserves and joining local efforts to monitor them. They are making a difference in ocean protection – and you can too! Help us protect and preserve the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Our volunteers have a whole lot of fun while helping our ocean and marine environment thrive.

Visit the Department of Fish and Game’s website for online maps of all the marine protected area networks or visit the mobile site to identify underwater parks in your area.

There are 4 types of Marine Protected Areas:

  • Marine Reserve: No Fishing is allowed in these areas
  • Marine Conservation Area: Limits commercial and recreational fishing to protect a specific habitat or resource.
  • Marine Park: Prohibits commercial fishing but allows most recreational fishing.
  • Marine Recreational Management Area: Limits commercial and recreational fishing to protect a specific habitat or resource.

 

Learn About California's Marine Protected Areas:

Central Coast MPAs:

  • 29 MPAs (18% of the region)
  • 13 State Marine Reserves
  • 13 State Marine Conservation Areas
  • 1 State Marine Recreational Management Area
  • 2 State Marine Parks
  • Went into effect in September of 2007

View specific regulations for each Central Coast MPA...

 

North Central Coast MPAs:

  • 22 MPAs total
  • 11 Marine Reserves
  • 9 Marine Conservation Areas
  • 2 Marine Parks
  • Went into effect in June, 2010

View specific regulations for each North Central Coast MPA...

 

South Coast MPAs:

  • 49 MPAs total
  • 20 Marine Reserves
  • 9 Marine Conservation Areas (No take)
  • 20 Marine Conservation Areas
  • Went into effect on January 1st, 2012

View specific regulations for each South Coast MPA...

 

North Coast MPAs:

  • Oregon Border to Point Arena
  • 6 Marine Reserves (No Take)
  • 13 Marine Conservation Areas
  • 1 Marine Recreational Management Area
  • Went into effect December 19th, 2012

Interesting Facts:

  • Approximately 2.58 million km2 of the marine environment are currently protected, representing only 0.65% of the world’s oceans. By contrast, around 12% of the world's land area is protected.
  • All MPAs currently occur within areas under national jurisdiction (typically from the coast out to 200 miles). The ocean area beyond this, the high seas, are essentially unprotected.
  • There are currently around 5,000 MPAs worldwide.
  • Fishermen are now catching less than half of what they caught in 1990 and the fish they catch are 45% smaller.

 

Special Places Protected on the Central Coast:

Año Nuevo

  • Largest mainland breeding colony in the world of the northern elephant seal
  • Tidepools along the shoreline house more than 300 species of invertebrate
  • Large concentration of great white sharks
  • Attracts sea lions, harbor seals and other marine mammals who come ashore to rest, mate and give birth


 

Piedras Blancas

  • Extensive tidepools, kelp forests, and beaches
  • Habitats that provide shelter and breeding grounds for seabirds
  • Plentiful environment for California sea lions, elephant seals, harbor seals, northern fur seals and sea otters
  • Offshore, a deep water reef attracts large fish populations and provides shelter for rockfish


Monterey Peninsula

  • The unique design of the underwater Monterey Submarine Canyon attract a wide variety of marine wildlife
  • The nutrient rich waters supply food in the form of phytoplankton
  • One of the only places in the world where you can see the endangered southern sea otter
  • Researchers are able to study the unknown in the deep sea canyon only a few miles from the coast


Big Sur Coast

  • Its submarine canyons and rocky pinnacles host rare coldwater corals and large rockfish
  • The vast kelp forests provide a nursery to juvenile fish and an ideal environment for sea otters
  • Its remote location has kept most of the fish populations healthy and the coast habitat pristine

 

For MPAs to truly have a chance to work as intended, compliance with the regulations has to occur and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Wardens are on task to see that they are successful. MPA education and outreach is a critical component to encourage compliance but also community support for MPAs and reporting of violations will ensures the future success of MPAs. Save Our Shores will continue to do our part engaging and educating the public about the value and benefit our network of MPAs will provide for California.

 

For more information on MPAs visit:

MPA.gov
CalOceans.org
DFG.ca.gov

 

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