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.
A Marine Protected Area, or MPA, is an ecosystem or area of the ocean that has been set aside to protect or conserve marine life and habitat. These MPAs receive greater protection than the surrounding waters by limiting or restricting the take of marine animals and plants in order to protect the ecosystem as a whole. The regulations of MPAs vary by type.
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
North Central Coast MPAs:
- 22 MPAs total
- 11 Marine Reserves
- 9 Marine Conservation Areas
- 2 Marine Parks
- Went into effect in June, 2010
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
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
How MPAs are Chosen:
Similar to parks on land, Marine Protected Areas are an essential key to renewing the health of the ocean. These reserves create more abundant ecosystems that can be further preserved for future generations and to restore our depleted fisheries. The Central Coast Marine Protected Areas were created by stakeholders of the Central Coast fisheries - the people most affected by marine protections. The stakeholders included fishermen, marine businesses, scientists, and policy makers of the Central Coast who came together to evaluate the health and future of popular fishing areas, fish nurseries, and high recreation areas, while measuring the impact of human activities. The stakeholders chose to create and protect a network of ocean ecosystems along the coast, instead of just individual marine species, to protect marine species in small, specific habitats, as well as marine species with vast migration routes, breeding grounds, and feeding grounds.
- 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:
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- Monthly Beach Cleanups
- Private & School Cleanups
- Adopt-a-Beach Cleanups
- Meet the Beach Adopters
- Earth Day
- July 4th & 5th
- Annual Coastal Cleanup Day
- Cleanup Calendar
Special Projects & Internships
- To Volunteer for Special Projects or inquire about Internships, email firstname.lastname@example.org