Tuesday September 6, 2022

The Mercury News

10 years and counting for California’s network of Marine Protected Areas.

California’s Marine Life Protection Act became law in 1999 and was implemented regionally from 2004 to 2012 through an inclusive public-private partnership that involved stakeholders, science advisors, natural resource managers and policymakers. The MLPA called for a scientifically designed network of Marine Protected Areas which by 2012, included approximately 16% of state waters in 124 marine protected areas, 59 of which are fully protected no-take Marine Protected Areas along California’s more than 1,100-mile coastline.

• While State Marine Park is one classification of MPA in California, most of the MPAs in California are not parks. Marine Protected Areas often protect representative habitats as opposed to the unique landscapes protected by parks.

• Unlike the California State Park system, California’s MPAs were designed to work as part of a larger ecological network.

• Although MPAs welcome visitors for a variety of purposes (including recreation, scientific study, cultural practices and in some cases recreational and commercial consumptive use), they are primarily set aside for their ecological function, including benefits to species, habitats and the wider ecosystem.

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