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June 30, 2011

GREAT NEWS! Southern California Marine Protected Areas take effect October 1, 2011.

By Diane Castaneda.
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Image provided by Dana Roeber Murray.

Great news for Southern California! The Fish and Game Commission voted yesterday to implement a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) beginning October 1st, 2011.

Since 2007, WiLDCOAST has worked on efforts to establish MPAs in Southern California.  These efforts included participating in over 50 public meetings, community outreach across Southern California to Latino constituents, and generating thousands of letters to state representatives. In December 2010, with the support of divers, surfers, fishermen, business leaders, organizations, students and many others, a network of MPAs was adopted by the Fish and Game Commission.  This network stretches from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border and connects to the MPAs that stretch from Point Conception to Point Arena.  To read press release click here.

In 1999 California passed the first law of its kind in the country-the Marine Life Protection Act, or MLPA. The idea to establish a network of MPAs across California was created in response to declining populations of fish stocks and the overall damage our marine environment has endured (trash, oil spills, overfishing, ocean acidification, etc.). Scientists predicted that by 2050 many fish species could disappear entirely from our oceans unless we protect them now. Governmental agencies, coastal communities, and organizations like WiLDCOAST have worked diligently to create and implement a network of MPAs to protect California’s ocean life and habitat.

MPAs consist of areas in the ocean which are set aside to protect ocean life and marine habitat. Some people compare them to National Parks like Yellowstone or Yosemite, but underwater. Think of it as a savings accounts for our oceans. We’ve set aside a little amount of the ocean so it can recuperate and thrive, and after a few years we’ll all benefit from the interest!

Marine protected areas provide economic, recreational, and environmental benefits to everybody.

Southern California MPAs.

Stretching from Pt. Conception to the Mexican border, the south coast is an iconic landscape, and you can find MPAs in places like Point Dume, Laguna, Naples Reef, Dana Point, Swamis, South La Jolla, and among 30 other spots! We invite you to come check them out and enjoy them. To download a map of the locations please click here. 

To learn more about Marine Protected Areas please visit our program’s page.