Marine protected areas went into effect on May 1, 2010, in California's north central coast.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are marine or estuarine areas set aside to protect or conserve marine life and habitat.
The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) was signed into law in 1999 and mandated the redesign of a statewide system of marine protected areas (MPAs) that function to the extent possible as a network. In August 2004, the California Resources Agency, California Department of Fish and Game [effective January 1, 2013, California's Department of Fish and Game was renamed the Department of Fish and Wildlife], and Resource Legacy Fund Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding that both launched the MLPA Initiative and began its implementation along the central California coast. Among other actions, the MLPA Initiative established the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Master Plan Science Advisory Team (SAT), a statewide stakeholder interest group, and a MLPA Initiative staff.
The goals of the MLPA are:
For more information on the MLPA process, please visit the California Department of Fish & Wildlife's Marine Life Protection Act website.
On August 5, 2009, California's Fish & Game Commission approved a sweeping plan to protect ocean habitats in twenty-four marine protected areas (MPAs) in State waters in the north central coast region, in accordance with the Marine Life Protection Act, a 1999 State legislation. This study region, the second in the State to be implemented, lies between Pigeon Point in San Mateo County and Point Arena in Mendocino County, and encompasses waters within Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The approved plan includes five MPAs off the coast of Point Reyes National Seashore. The Fish and Game Commission voted to adopt a plan that was developed during two years of public discussion, scientific study and participation by various parties with an interest in ocean protection. The National Park Service has been involved with this process by helping draft proposed MPAs, by providing key scientific guidance, conducting education and outreach initiates, and by providing funding for MPA monitoring.
The network of MPAs:
There is a global body of scientific evidence about the effectiveness of marine reserves to restore marine ecosystems. Many marine scientists, conservationists, fishermen, divers and surfers hope that these MPAs in California's oceans will help restore our declining fisheries and ensure the continuation of these natural resources for generations to come.
The adopted network of north central coast MPAs is the second region in the State of California to be completed, and went into effect May 1, 2010. Continued monitoring, enforcement and education are essential for the success of these MPAs.
MPAs in the waters adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore
Map of Marine Protect Areas within or adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore (170 KB PDF)
Map of Point Reyes Headlands Special Closure (107 KB PDF)
Map of Marine Protect Areas within or adjacent to the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (1,493 KB PDF)
Marine Management News Blog
Visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Marine Management News Blog to find out about MPAs up and down the California coastline. As of March 31, 2019, two of the MPAs in the waters adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore have been featured:
Price, A. 2020. "Going Mobile. Are dynamic Marine Protected Areas the solution to our rapidly changing ocean ecosystems?" Earth Island Journal 35(3): 33–37. Available at https://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/going-mobile-marine-protected-areas. (accessed 24 September 2020).
Last updated: February 24, 2021