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January 03, 2012

Tijuana River Mouth Marine Protected Area in Effect as of January 1, 2012

One of 50 Marine Protected Areas in CA

South Coast Marine Protected Areas 


New South Coast Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Are in Effect as of January 1, 2012.

California’s new and improved Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) network in the south coast region (Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the California/Mexico border) are in effect as of January 1, 2012.  The south coast MPA network encompasses 37 new or modified MPAs, plus the pre-existing 13 MPAs and two special closures located at the northern Channel Islands.  A total of 354 square miles or about 15% of coastal waters in the south coast region is located in an MPA.


Marine Protected Area  

"Marine protected area" (MPA) means a named, discrete geographic marine or estuarine area seaward of the high tide line or the mouth of a coastal river, including any area of intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with its overlying water and associated flora and fauna that has been designated by law, administrative action, or voter initiative to protect or conserve marine life and habitat. MPA classifications include marine life reserves (the equivalent of the state marine reserve classification), state marine parks, which allow recreational fishing and prohibit commercial extraction, and state marine conservation areas, which allow for specified commercial and recreational activities, including fishing for certain species but not others, fishing with certain practices but not others, and kelp harvesting, provided that these activities are consistent with the objectives of the area and the goals and guidelines of this chapter.

MPAs are primarily intended to protect or conserve marine life and habitat, and are therefore a subset of marine managed areas (MMAs), which are broader groups of named, discrete geographic areas along the coast that protect, conserve, or otherwise manage a variety of resources and uses, including living marine resources, cultural and historical resources, and recreational opportunities. Marine managed area classifications include state water quality protection area, state marine cultural preservation area, and state marine recreational management area. 

The Tijuana River Mouth an area widely recognized as an exemplary surfing destination spot is now among the newly established Marine Protected Areas. According to the California Department of Fish and Game its permitted uses are as follows:

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited except:

  1. The recreational take of coastal pelagic species, except market squid, by hand-held dip net only is allowed.
  2. The commercial take of coastal pelagic species, except market squid, by round haul net only is allowed.
  3. Take pursuant to beach nourishment and other sediment management activities and operation and maintenance of artificial structures inside the conservation area is allowed per any required federal, state and local permits, or as otherwise authorized by the department.