MARINE PROTECTED AREAS What Are MPAs? Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) (MPAs) are are geographic geographic areas areas designated designated to to protect protect or or conserve

marine life and habitat conserve - State State Marine Reserve (SMR): (SMR): Also called No No take zones. The most restrictive type of MPA - State State Marine Park (SMP):

(SMP): Prohibits commercial commercial fishing, fishing, but but allows recreational recreational fishing - State State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA): (SMCA): Allows Allows for for specified specified commercial commercial and

recreational activities - State State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA): may restrict some recreational opportunities (often duck duck hunting areas). Only Only one one in Central coast region Piedras Blancas

Marine Protected Areas Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area All fishing prohibited in Reserve; all but albacore and salmon in Conservation Area

The Science of MPAs Efforts to control overfishing by establishing limits have not been successful Marine reserves have improved overall ocean health The Science of MPAs Older, larger fish produce more offspring. Protecting fish spawning grounds enhances fish populations. Anacapa Island Example

Comparison of marine reserve and fished areas Lobsters 6 times more abundant in reserve Kelp forest in reserve healthy; kelp forest stressed in fished areas Lobsters keep urchins under control, restoring natural balance Benefits of marine

reserves Fish species show: Fish species show: Higher abundances Increase in size Increase diversity Increase biomass History of California MPAs Created pursuant to the California Marine Life Protection Act of 1999 Requires a comprehensive science-based network of protected areas to foster

healthy habitats and improve fishing California MPAs MLPA plan to establish a statewide network by 2011 Central Coast first area completed, after a lengthy process of community meetings involving stakeholders North Central Coast just completed Other areas except SF Bay now underway

Central Coast MPAs MPA size selected to provide safety for resident species Offspring drift into adjacent areas, increasing the number of fish Spacing designated to

encourage repopulation Central Coast MPAs 29 protected areas designated on the Central Coast 13 marine reserves, 7.5% of region, prohibit fishing 14 marine conservation areas, 10% of region, limit fishing

Piedras Blancas MPA Unique Features Elephant seal rookery Other marine mammals Extensive kelp forest Deepwater rocky reef with large forage fish populations and shelter for rockfish Near-pristine tidepool areas

Piedras Blancas MPAs Scientific monitoring to evaluate effectiveness is an important part of the MPA process Monitoring includes catch and release fishing and netting, observation by submersibles, and intertidal monitoring stations You may see monitoring devices or researchers from the bluffs

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