Commercial fishermen, anglers, nature enthusiasts and anyone interested in California's marine resources can now visit a Department of Fish and Game web site for information on developing a network of marine protected areas.

DFG's Marine Life Protection Act web site can be found at, and includes information on ways the public can get involved in developing a comprehensive plan for MPAs within state waters.

The Act requires the state to facilitate the development of a more effective network of MPAs with the assistance of a scientific planning team. Prior to enactment of the Act in 1999, a variety of state MPAs evolved on a case-by-case basis through legislation, regulatory action and public referendum, including marine life refuges, marine reserves, state parks, and other areas.

The new state web site contains background information on the Act, minutes of the MLPA Planning Team meetings and information on a series of regional workshops scheduled this month. The regional workshops are designed to exchange information on initial draft concepts for a network of MPAs.

State waters were divided into four regions by the planning team in developing the initial draft concepts.

  • North Marine Region: California-Oregon border to Pt. Arena.

  • North-Central Marine Region: Pt. Arena to Pt. Ano Nuevo.

  • South-Central Marine Region: Pt. Ano Nuevo to Pt. Conception.

  • South Marine Region: Pt. Conception to California-Mexico border.

Additional information on these regional concepts for MPAs will be available about two weeks before each set of regional workshops via the new web site.

DFG staff and members of the scientific planning team will be available at the workshops to answer questions about the initial draft concepts and the new classification system being used to name marine managed areas, as required by the Marine Managed Areas Improvement Act. There are six new classifications that will be used for naming all marine managed areas.

  1. State Marine Reserve — All extractive activities are prohibited, including commercial and recreational fishing. Education activities and other forms of non-consumptive human uses may be permitted consistent with the protection of all marine resources. Scientific collection of any living, geological or cultural marine resource is by permit only.

  2. State Marine Park — All commercial exploitation is prohibited, including commercial fishing. Restrictions may be imposed on recreational activities to protect resource values, and scientific collection is by permit only.

  3. State Marine Conservation Area — Limits commercial and recreational uses that would compromise protection of species of interest, natural communities, habitat or geological features being protected. Research, education and recreational activities may be permitted.

  4. State Marine Cultural Preservation Area — Prohibits extraction, damage or possession of any cultural marine resource and structures or improvements that conflict with complete integrity of the cultural resources as prohibited.

  5. State Marine Recreational Management Area — Provides, enhances or restricts certain recreational opportunities while preserving basic resource values of the area.

  6. State Water Quality Protection Area — Prohibits or limits by special conditions point source waste and thermal discharges. Non point-source pollution is controlled to the extent practicable.