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North Central California Marine Protected Areas

Updated March 1, 2016

The north central California marine protected areas (MPAs), from Alder Creek (near Point Arena) to Pigeon Point, are one component of a statewide MPA network. Major revisions and additions to north central California MPAs went into effect in state waters* on May 1, 2010.

The 25 protected areas in this region (22 MPAs and three marine recreational management areas) cover approximately 154 square miles, or about 20 percent of north central California state waters. Six special closures are also managed as part of the region’s complement of MPAs. The following table summarizes the area designations managed within the north central portion of the statewide MPA network:

Number Type Description
10
State Marine Reserve (SMR) An MPA designation that prohibits damage or take of all marine resources (living, geologic, or cultural) including recreational and commercial take
12
State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) An MPA designation that may allow some recreational and/or commercial take of marine resources (restrictions vary)
3
State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA) An MMA designation that limits recreational and commercial take of marine resources while allowing for legal waterfowl hunting to occur; provides subtidal protection equivalent to an MPA (restrictions vary)
6
Special Closure An area designated by the Fish and Game Commission that prohibits access or restricts boating activities in waters adjacent to sea bird rookeries or marine mammal haul-out sites (restrictions vary)

*State waters in the north central California region cover approximately 763 square miles of ocean, estuary, and offshore rock/island waters.

MPA Regulations and Maps

MPA maps and current regulations are presented here by coastal county. JPG maps are low-resolution files that can be quickly viewed on most computers. PDF maps are higher-resolution files, providing greater detail and clarity. Regulations are taken from California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14, Section 632.

Note: Map Datum used is North American Datum 1983 (NAD83) and position format is in Degrees Minutes Decimal Minutes (DDD MM.MMM). MPA boundaries shown in these maps do not replace the official boundaries found in CCR Title 14, Section 632(b).

Map of North Central California MPAs (all): JPG | PDF


Mendocino County

Point Arena State Marine Reserve

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

38° 57.350' N. lat. 123° 44.500' W. long.;
38° 59.000' N. lat. 123° 44.500' W. long.;
38° 59.000' N. lat. 123° 46.000' W. long.;
38° 56.400' N. lat. 123° 46.000' W. long.; and
38° 56.400' N. lat. 123° 43.820' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

Point Arena State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

38° 59.000' N. lat. 123° 46.000' W. long.;
38° 59.000' N. lat. 123° 48.162' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
38° 56.400' N. lat. 123° 48.350' W. long.;
38° 56.400' N. lat. 123° 46.000' W. long.; and
38° 59.000' N. lat. 123° 46.000' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of salmon by trolling is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear is allowed.

Sea Lion Cove State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

38° 56.400' N. lat. 123° 43.820' W. long.;
38° 56.400' N. lat. 123° 44.000' W. long.;
38° 55.790' N. lat. 123° 44.000' W. long.; and
38° 55.790' N. lat. 123° 43.740' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exception:
    1. The recreational and commercial take of finfish is allowed.

Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

38° 51.800' N. lat. 123° 39.230' W. long.;
38° 51.800' N. lat. 123° 44.780' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
38° 50.000' N. lat. 123° 42.580' W. long.; and
38° 50.000' N. lat. 123° 37.600' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of salmon by trolling is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear and sea urchin is allowed.

Sonoma County

Del Mar Landing State Marine Reserve

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

38° 44.706' N. lat. 123° 31.000' W. long.;
38° 44.200' N. lat. 123° 31.000' W. long.;
38° 44.200' N. lat. 123° 30.300' W. long.; and
38° 44.430' N. lat. 123° 30.300' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

38° 40.500' N. lat. 123° 25.345' W. long.;
38° 40.500' N. lat. 123° 25.500' W. long.;
38° 37.500' N. lat. 123° 23.500' W. long.; and
38° 37.543' N. lat. 123° 22.924' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The following may be taken recreationally from shore only: marine aquatic plants other than sea palm, marine invertebrates, finfish by hook-and-line, surf smelt by beach net, and species authorized in Section 28.80 of these regulations by hand-held dip net.

Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

38° 37.543' N. lat. 123° 22.924' W. long.;
38° 37.500' N. lat. 123° 23.500' W. long.;
38° 40.500' N. lat. 123° 25.500' W. long.;
38° 40.500' N. lat. 123° 30.243' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
38° 35.600' N. lat. 123° 26.018' W. long.; and
38° 35.600' N. lat. 123° 20.800' W. long. 
 

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

38° 35.600' N. lat. 123° 20.800' W. long.;
38° 35.600' N. lat. 123° 21.000' W. long.;
38° 33.500' N. lat. 123° 21.000' W. long.; and
38° 33.500' N. lat. 123° 18.910' W. long. except that Gerstle Cove as described in subsection 632(b)(36)(A) is excluded.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of abalone and finfish is allowed.

Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve

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Boundary: This area lies within the Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area and is bounded by the mean high tide line and a straight line connecting the following points:

38° 33.950' N. lat. 123° 19.920' W. long.; and
38° 33.950' N. lat. 123° 19.760' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

Russian River State Marine Recreational Management Area

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Boundary: This area includes the waters below the mean high tide line eastward of the mouth of the Russian River Estuary defined as a line connecting the following two points:

38° 27.160' N. lat. 123° 07.910' W. long.;
38° 27.010' N. lat. 123° 07.740' W. long. and westward of the Highway 1 Bridge.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Waterfowl may be taken in accordance with the general waterfowl regulations (Sections 502, 550, 551, and 552).

Russian River State Marine Conservation Area

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line, the mouth of the Russian River estuary as defined in Section 632(b)(37)(A), and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

38° 27.380' N. lat. 123° 08.580' W. long.;
38° 26.380' N. lat. 123° 08.580' W. long.; and
38° 26.380' N. lat. 123° 07.700' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of Dungeness crab by trap, and surf smelt using hand-held dip net or beach net is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of Dungeness crab by trap is allowed.

Bodega Head State Marine Reserve

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

38° 20.100' N. lat. 123° 04.123' W. long.;
38° 20.100' N. lat. 123° 08.448' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
38° 18.000' N. lat. 123° 08.140' W. long.; and
38° 18.000' N. lat. 123° 03.680' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. Take pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 10661 is allowed, and the director of the Bodega Marine Life Refuge may authorize certain activities in the formerly designated Bodega Marine Life Refuge (Section 10903, Fish and Game Code) pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of Section 10502.7 and Section 10656 of the Fish and Game Code.

[No anchoring or mooring except as permitted by federal law, or in hazardous weather. CDFW and the Bodega Marine Life Refuge director may permit take for scientific or educational purposes, access, anchoring, and/or mooring.]

Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

38° 18.000' N. lat. 123° 03.680' W. long.;
38° 18.000' N. lat. 123° 08.140' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
38° 13.340' N. lat. 123° 03.510' W. long.; and
38° 17.930' N. lat. 123° 03.510' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of pelagic finfish by trolling, Dungeness crab by trap, and market squid by hand-held dip net is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of pelagic finfish by troll fishing gear or round haul net, Dungeness crab by trap, and market squid by round haul net, is allowed. Not more than five percent by weight of any commercial pelagic finfish or market squid catch landed or possessed shall be other incidentally taken species.

Estero Americano State Marine Recreational Management Area

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Boundary: This area includes the waters below the mean high tide line within Estero Americano westward of longitude 122° 59.250' W.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Waterfowl may be taken in accordance with the general waterfowl regulations (Sections 502, 550, 551, and 552).


Marin County

Estero de San Antonio State Marine Recreational Management Area

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Boundary: This area includes the waters below the mean high tide line within Estero de San Antonio westward of longitude 122° 57.400' W.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Waterfowl may be taken in accordance with the general waterfowl regulations (Sections 502, 550, 551, and 552).

Point Reyes State Marine Reserve

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

37° 59.900' N. lat. 123° 01.278' W. long.;
37° 59.900' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.;
37° 59.000' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.;
37° 59.000' N. lat. 122° 57.340' W. long.; and
38° 01.750' N. lat. 122° 55.000' W. long.; thence westward along the mean high tide line onshore boundary to
38° 01.783' N. lat. 122° 55.286' W. long.; and
38° 01.941' N. lat. 122° 56.364' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

37° 59.000' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.;
37° 56.712' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.; thence eastward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
37° 56.370' N. lat. 122° 57.340' W. long.;
37° 59.000' N. lat. 122° 57.340' W. long.; and
37° 59.000' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of salmon by trolling and Dungeness crab by trap is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear and Dungeness crab by trap is allowed.

Point Reyes Headlands Special Closure

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Special restrictions on boating and access apply to the Point Reyes Headlands as follows.

  1. A special closure is designated on the south side of the Point Reyes headlands from the mean high tide line to a distance of 1,000 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline between lines extending due south from each of the following two points:

    37° 59.650' N. lat. 123° 01.000' W. long; and
    37° 59.390' N. lat. 122° 57.800' W. long.
  2. No person except Department employees or employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, or United States Coast Guard, in performing their official duties, or unless permission is granted by the Department, shall enter this area at any time.

Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve

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Boundary: This area consists of waters below the mean high tide line within Estero de Limantour and within Drakes Estero, southward of a line connecting the following two points:

38° 02.660' N. lat. 122° 56.900' W. long.; and
38° 02.660' N. lat. 122° 56.150' W. long. and northward of a line connecting the following two points:
38° 01.783' N. lat. 122° 55.286' W. long.; and
38° 01.941' N. lat. 122° 56.364' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area

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Boundary: This area includes the waters below the mean high tide line within Drakes Estero northward of a line connecting the following two points:

38° 02.660' N. lat. 122° 56.900' W. long.; and
38° 02.660' N. lat. 122° 56.150' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of clams is allowed.

Point Resistance Rock Special Closure

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Special restrictions on boating and access apply to Point Resistance Rock as follows.

  1. A special closure is designated from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Point Resistance Rock, located in the vicinity of
    37° 59.916’ N. lat. 122° 49.759’ W. long.
  2. No person except Department employees or employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, or United States Coast Guard, in performing their official duties, or unless permission is granted by the Department, shall enter this area at any time.

Double Point/Stormy Stack Rock Special Closure

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Special restrictions on boating and access apply to Stormy Stack Rock as follows.

  1. A special closure is designated from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Stormy Stack Rock, located in the vicinity of 37° 56.830’ N. lat. 122° 47.140’ W. long.
  2. No person except Department employees or employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, or United States Coast Guard, in performing their official duties, or unless permission is granted by the Department, shall enter this area at any time.

Duxbury Reef State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line, a distance of 1000 feet seaward of mean lower low water, and the following points:

37° 55.514' N. lat. 122° 44.179' W. long.;
37° 55.420' N. lat. 122° 44.310' W. long.;
37° 53.650' N. lat. 122° 41.910' W. long.; and
37° 53.770' N. lat. 122° 42.020' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of finfish from shore and abalone is allowed.

San Francisco County

North Farallon Islands State Marine Reserve

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

37° 45.700' N. lat. 122° 59.085' W. long.; thence northwestward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to:
37° 49.344' N. lat. 123° 7.000' W. long.;
37° 45.700' N. lat. 123° 7.000' W. long.; and
37° 45.700' N. lat. 122° 59.085' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

North Farallon Islands Special Closure

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Special regulations on boating and access apply to the North Farallon Islands as follows.

  1. A special closure is established at the islets comprising the North Farallon Islands.
  2. Except as permitted by federal law or emergency caused by hazardous weather, or as authorized by [3. below], no vessel shall be operated or anchored at any time from the mean high tide line to a distance of 1,000 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of North Farallon Island, or to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of the remaining three southern islets, including the Island of St. James, in the vicinity of 37° 46.025’ N. lat. 123° 06.018’ W. long.
  3. No person except Department employees or employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or United States Coast Guard, in performing their official duties, or unless permission is granted by the Department, shall enter the area defined in subsection 632(b)(52)(B) [2. above].
  4. All vessels shall observe a five (5) nautical mile per hour speed limit within 1,000 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of the islets defined in subsection 632(b)(52)(B) [2. above].
  5. In an area bounded by the mean high tide line and a distance of one nautical mile seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any of the four islets comprising the North Farallon Islands, the following restrictions apply:
    1. All commercial diving vessels operating in the defined area shall have their vessel engine exhaust system terminate either through a muffler for dry exhaust systems, or below the vessel waterline for wet exhaust systems.
    2. All commercial diving vessels equipped with an open, deckmounted air compressor system, while operating in the defined area, shall have their air compressor’s engine exhaust system terminate below the vessel waterline.

Southeast Farallon Island State Marine Reserve

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Boundary: This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

37° 42.600' N. lat. 122° 59.500' W. long.;
37° 42.600' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.;
37° 40.500' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.;
37° 40.500' N. lat. 122° 59.500' W. long.; and
37° 42.600' N. lat. 122° 59.500' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

Southeast Farallon Island Special Closure

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Special regulations on boating and access apply to the island and islets comprising the Southeast Farallon Island as follows.

  1. A special closure is established at the Southeast Farallon Island.
  2. Except as permitted by federal law or emergency caused by hazardous weather, or as authorized by [4., below], no vessel shall be operated or anchored at any time from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of the Southeast Farallon Island year-round, EXCEPT:
    1. The area north of Fisherman’s Bay, from a line extending due west from 37° 42.260’ N. lat. 123° 00.160’ W. long. , following clockwise around the island (including Fisherman’s Bay), to a line extending due east from 37° 42.050’ N. lat. 123° 00.070’ W. long.
    2. At East Landing, from a line extending due east from 37° 41.830’ N. lat. 122° 59.980’ W. long. following clockwise around the island, to a straight line connecting the following two points: 37° 41.720’ N. lat. 123° 00.050’ W. long. ; and 37° 41.680’ N. lat. 123° 00.070’ W. long.
  3. This closure as defined in subsection 632(b)(55)(B) [2., above] exists year round, except for the following areas, which are closed only from December 1 through September 14 of each year:
    1. From Fisherman’s Bay to East Landing, from a line extending due east from 37° 42.050’ N. lat. 123° 00.070’ W. long. , following clockwise around the island to a line extending due east from 37° 41.830’ N. lat. 122°59.980’ W. long.
    2. The area southwest of East Landing, from a straight line connecting the following two points: 37° 41.720’ N. lat. 123° 00.050’ W. long. ; and 37° 41.680’ N. lat. 123° 00.070’ W. long. Following clockwise around the main island to a straight line extending due south from 37° 41.760’ N. lat. 123° 00.160’ W. long. to 37° 41.640’ N. lat. 123° 00.160’ W. long. , and on the southeast side of Saddle (Seal) Rock, from a straight line extending due south from 37° 41.760’ N. lat. 123° 00.160’ W. long. , following clockwise around Saddle (Seal) Rock, to a line extending due west from 37° 41.600’ N. lat. 123° 00.260’ W. long.
  4. No person except department employees or employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or United States Coast Guard, in performing their official duties, or unless permission is granted by the department, shall enter the area defined in subsection 632(b)(55)(B) or 632(b)(55)(C) [2. or 3., above] during the closure period.
  5. All vessels shall observe a five (5) nautical mile per hour speed limit 1,000 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of the Southeast Farallon Island.
  6. In an area bounded by the mean high tide line and a distance of one nautical mile seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any of the islands and islets comprising the Southeast Farallon Island, the following restrictions apply:
    1. All commercial diving vessels operating in the defined area shall have their vessel engine exhaust system terminate either through a muffler for dry exhaust systems, or below the vessel waterline for wet exhaust systems.
    2. All commercial diving vessels equipped with an open, deck-mounted air compressor system, while operating in the defined area, shall have their air compressor’s engine exhaust system terminate below the vessel waterline.

Southeast Farallon Island State Marine Conservation Area

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Boundary: This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

37° 42.600' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.;
37° 42.600' N. lat. 123° 05.461' W. long.; thence southeastward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
37° 38.654' N. lat. 122° 59.500' W. long.;
37° 40.500' N. lat. 122° 59.500' W. long.;
37° 40.500' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.; and
37° 42.600' N. lat. 123° 02.000' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of salmon by trolling is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear is allowed.

San Mateo County

Egg (Devil's Slide) Rock to Devil's Slide Special Closure

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Special restrictions on boating and access apply as follows.

  1. A special closure is designated from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of any of the three rocks comprising Egg (Devil's Slide) Rock, located in the vicinity of:

    37° 34.640' N. lat. 122° 31.290' W. long.;
    37° 34.660' N. lat. 122° 31.320' W. long.; and
    37° 34.630' N. lat. 122° 31.290' W. long.; and the area bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
    37° 34.740' N. lat. 122° 31.080' W. long.;
    37° 34.720' N. lat. 122° 31.310' W. long.;
    37° 34.600' N. lat. 122° 31.330' W. long.; and
    37° 34.520' N. lat. 122° 31.210' W. long.

  2. Transit in between the rock and the mainland between these points is prohibited at any time.

  3. No person except Department employees or employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or United States Coast Guard, in performing their official duties, or unless permission is granted by the Department, shall enter this area.

Montara State Marine Reserve

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

37° 32.700' N. lat. 122° 31.000' W. long.;
37° 32.700' N. lat. 122° 34.908' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
37° 30.000' N. lat. 122° 34.608' W. long.; and
37° 30.000' N. lat. 122° 29.920' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses: It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.

Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area

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Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

37° 30.000' N. lat. 122° 29.920' W. long.;
37° 30.000' N. lat. 122° 34.608' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
37° 28.330' N. lat. 122° 33.489' W. long.;
37° 28.330' N. lat. 122° 30.830' W. long.;
37° 29.180' N. lat. 122° 30.360' W. long.;
37° 29.740' N. lat. 122° 29.970' W, long. ; and
37° 29.733' N. lat. 122° 29.950' W, long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for recreational and/or commercial purposes, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. The recreational take of pelagic finfish by trolling, Dungeness crab by trap, and market squid by hand-held dip net is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of pelagic finfish by troll or round haul net, Dungeness crab by trap, and market squid by round haul net, is allowed. Not more than five percent by weight of any commercial pelagic finfish or market squid catch landed or possessed shall be other incidentally taken species.

Definitions: Take, Finfish, Pelagic Finfish, and Coastal Pelagic Species

Take (Fish and Game Code, Section 86) means hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill. ("Take" is also defined in CCR Title 14, Section 1.80)

Finfish (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(2)), as defined for purposes of MPA regulations, are any species of bony fish or cartilaginous fish (sharks, skates and rays). Finfish do not include amphibians, invertebrates, plants or algae.

Pelagic finfish (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(3)), as defined for purposes of MPA regulations, are a subset of finfish defined as: northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax), barracudas (Sphyraena spp.), billfishes* (family Istiophoridae), dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus), Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii), jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus), Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus), salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax), blue shark (Prionace glauca), salmon shark (Lamna ditropis), shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), thresher sharks (Alopias spp.), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), tunas (family Scombridae), including Pacific bonito (Sarda chiliensis), and yellowtail (Seriola lalandi). *Marlin is not allowed for commercial take.

Coastal pelagic species (CCR Title 14, Section 1.39), as defined for purposes of MPA regulations, include the following: northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax), Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax), Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus), jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) and market squid (Doryteuthis (Loligo) opalescens).

Surf Smelt (CCR Title 14, Section 28.45)
(Night Smelt, Day Fish, Whitebait Smelt)
Limit: Twenty-five pounds in combination


Definitions: MPA Network Areas

State Marine Reserve (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(1)(A)): In a State Marine Reserve, it is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource, except under a scientific collecting permit issued by the department pursuant to Section 650 or specific authorization from the commission for research, restoration, or monitoring purposes.

State Marine Park (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(1)(B)): In a State Marine Park, it is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living or nonliving marine resource for commercial purposes. Any human use that would compromise protection of the species of interest, natural community or habitat, or geological, cultural, or recreational features, may be restricted by the commission as specified in individual MPA regulations. The department may issue scientific collecting permits pursuant to Section 650. The commission may authorize research, monitoring, and educational activities and certain recreational harvest in a manner consistent with protecting resource values.

State Marine Conservation Area (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(1)(C)): In a State Marine Conservation Area, it is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for commercial or recreational purposes, or a combination of commercial and recreational purposes except as specified in individual MPA regulations. The department may issue scientific collecting permits pursuant to Section 650. The commission may authorize research, education, and recreational activities, and certain commercial and recreational harvest of marine resources, provided that these uses do not compromise protection of the species of interest, natural community, habitat, or geological features.

State Marine Recreational Management Area (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(1)(D)): In a State Marine Recreational Management Area, it is unlawful to perform any activity that would compromise the recreational values for which the area may be designated. Recreational opportunities may be protected, enhanced, or restricted, while preserving basic resource values of the area. No other use is restricted unless specified in individual MPA regulations.

Special Closure: An area designated by the Fish and Game Commission that prohibits access or restricts boating activities in waters adjacent to sea bird rookeries or marine mammal haul-out sites (restrictions vary).


General Rules that Apply to All MPAs

Access (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(4))

Access into marine protected areas or marine managed areas for non-consumptive uses including but not limited to swimming, surfing, diving, boating, hiking and walking is allowed unless otherwise specified in individual MPA regulations.

Introduction of Species (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(5))

Unless authorized by the commission or as a result of authorized fishing activities, the release of any fish or wildlife species, including domestic or domesticated species, or the introduction of any plant species, is prohibited. The department may reintroduce endemic species to marine protected areas or marine managed areas for management purposes.

Feeding of Fish and Wildlife (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(6))

The feeding of fish and wildlife is prohibited except permitted scientific collection pursuant to Section 650 or as a result of authorized fishing within state marine conservation areas, state marine parks, and state marine recreational management areas, or unless feeding of fish is specifically authorized in individual MPA regulations for purposes of marine life viewing.

Anchoring (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(7))

Vessels shall be allowed to anchor in any marine protected area or marine managed area with catch onboard unless otherwise specified in individual MPA regulations. Fishing gear shall not be deployed in the water while anchored in a state marine reserve. Fishing gear, except legal fishing gear used to take species identified as allowed for take in individual MPA regulations, shall not be deployed in the water while anchored in a state marine recreational management area, state marine park or state marine conservation area. Anchoring regulations shall be consistent with federal law and allowances made for anchoring required by emergency or severe weather.

Transit or Drifting (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(8))

Vessels shall be allowed to transit through MPAs and marine managed areas (MMAs) with catch onboard. Fishing gear shall not be deployed in the water while transiting through a state marine reserve. Fishing gear, except legal fishing gear used to take species identified as allowed for take in individual MPA regulations, shall not be deployed in the water while transiting through a state marine recreational management area, state marine park or state marine conservation area.

Spearfishermen with or without catch shall be allowed to transit through MPAs and MMAs. While transiting areas that prohibit spearfishing or while in possession of species not identified as allowed for take in the area being transited, spearfishing gear shall be in an unloaded condition, not carried in hand, and the diver shall remain at the surface.

Water Quality Monitoring (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(9))

Sampling of water, sediment and marine life, for water quality monitoring or pollution research, or as required in a Monitoring and Reporting Program of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit and Waste Discharge Requirements issued by the State or Regional Water Boards pursuant to the United States Clean Water Act and the California Water Code, is allowed within state marine reserves, state marine conservation areas, state marine parks, and state marine recreational management areas pursuant to a valid scientific collecting permit issued by the department.

Public Safety (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(10))

Public safety activities, including installation, maintenance and/or seasonal placement and removal of safety-related artificial structures, including but not limited to lifeguard towers, are allowed within any MPA classification pursuant to any required federal, state and local permits, or as otherwise authorized by the department.

Tribal Take (CCR Title 14, Section 632(a)(11))

"Federally recognized tribe" means any tribe on the List of Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, published annually in the Federal Register. Any member of a federally recognized tribe authorized to take living marine resources from an area with area-specific take restrictions in individual MPA regulations, when engaging in take within an authorized area shall possess on his person, in his immediate possession, or where otherwise specifically required by law to be kept, any valid license, report card, tag, stamp, validation, permit, or any other entitlement that is required in the Fish and Game Code, or required by other state, federal, or local entities, in order to take living marine resources. Members shall possess a valid photo identification card issued by a federally recognized tribe that contains expiration date, tribal name, tribal member number, name, signature, date of birth, height, color of eyes, color of hair, weight, and sex; and display any of the items listed above upon demand to any peace officer. Members taking living marine resources under this provision are subject to current seasonal, bag, possession, gear and size limits in existing Fish and Game Code statutes and regulations of the Commission, except as otherwise provided for in individual MPA regulations. No member, while taking living marine resources, may be assisted by any person who does not possess a valid tribal identification card and is not properly licensed to take living marine resources. Nothing in the regulation is intended to conflict with, or supersede, any state or federal law regarding the take of protected, threatened or endangered species.

Shore Fishing (CCR Title 14, Section(a)(12))

Take from shore, or shore fishing, means take of living marine resources from shore, including beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks, and other man-made structures connected to the shore. Unless specifically authorized in individual MPA regulations, no vessel, watercraft (motorized or non-motorized), or floating device may be used to assist in the take, transport or possession of species taken while shore fishing, except that a float tube or similar flotation device may be used when taking abalone only.



Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA  93940
AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov  |  (831) 649-2870
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North Central California MPAs
North Central California MPAs


California's MPA Network

California's MPA network uses different marine managed area (MMA) classifications. These classifications are defined in the Marine Managed Areas Improvement Act, which is used to designate marine areas intended to protect, conserve, or otherwise manage a variety of resources and their uses including living marine resources and their habitats, scenic views, water quality, recreational values, and cultural or geological resources. MPAs are primarily intended to protect or conserve marine life and habitat, and are a subset of MMAs.

California's MPA network includes three MPA designations (State Marine Reserve, State Marine Conservation Area, and State Marine Park) and one additional MMA designation (State Marine Recreational Management Area); special closure areas, established by the Fish and Game Commission, are also managed within the California MPA network.