kelp bass
The loss of kelp and the critical marine habitat it represents was one factor in the effort to establish marine reserves.

Marine Protected Areas

State adopts expanded network of protected areas

More than 350 square miles of ocean became protected under a network of marine reserves approved by the state Department of Fish & Game in December 2010. View the approved network (PDF)

The decision was part of The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), which directed the state to redesign California's system of marine protected areas (MPAs) to help protect marine life and critical habitats, marine ecosystems and marine natural heritage, as well as to improve recreational, educational and research opportunities provided by marine ecosystems. The MLPA incorporates three types of MPAs known as state marine conservation areas, state marine parks, and state marine reserves. Each type of MPA offers a different level of protection in order to ensure a fair balance between conservation and consumptive interests.

What's New!

Watch the newest Thank You Ocean Report on Central California Marine Protected Areas here.

The Ocean Protection Council has awarded $4 million to support initial monitoring of the newly designated South Coast marine protected areas (MPAs). The projects, which will collect baseline information for up to three years, will target marine life and habitats, as well as commercial and recreational activities, inside and outside the protected areas in the South Coast region from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the California/Mexico border. More information.

 848 miles of California coastline have been designated as a marine protected area effective December 19, 2012. Read more here.

Please visit the links on the right to learn more about the Marine Life Protection Act.

Click here for Department of Fish and Game MLPA updates