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Marine Protected Areas

California’s Marine Protected Area Network

In 2012, California completed a science-based, stakeholder driven process to designate 124 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that cover 16% of state waters. The network consists of areas that have various levels of protection and include some reserves that prohibit all “take.” Just as our nation’s parks and wilderness areas protect special places on land, California’s MPAs protect a wide array of habitats, species and special places underwater. Learn more…

Marine Protected Area Management Program

California’s MPA network was designed, based on sound science, to provide ecological benefits to marine habitats and species. In order to maximize these benefits, the state’s MPAs must be ecologically functioning as a network, which requires successful management. California recently adopted the Marine Life Protection Act Master Plan, which outlines the state’s MPA Management Program, and requires active engagement in four key focal areas. Click on the icons below to learn more and see our current projects in each area.

Image_Education and Outreach Image_Enforcement and Compliance Image_Research and Monitoring Image_Policy and Permitting


OPC focuses on supporting and informing MPA network management by breaking down traditional silos and creating novel partnerships and collaborations. The MPA Statewide Leadership Team is a key tool OPC uses to support effective management and is made up of state agencies and other partners that have significant authority to affect the statewide MPA network. Learn more…

What does California’s Marine Protected Area Network mean to you?

Word Cloud created at an MPA all staff meeting of the Ocean Protection Council,
the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ocean Science Trust, and the MPA Collaborative Network.

Slide1Marine Protected Area Network Key Documents

The management of the Marine Protected Area Network is guided by several key documents that define the management goals of the Network and the roles and responsibilities of managing agencies and partners. Learn more…




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