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Northern California Marine Protected Areas

Updated March 1, 2016

The northern California marine protected areas (MPAs), from the California/Oregon border to Alder Creek (near Point Arena), are the northernmost component of a statewide MPA network. Major revisions and additions to northern California MPAs went into effect in state waters* on December 19, 2012.

The 20 protected areas in this region (19 MPAs and one marine recreational management area) cover approximately 137 square miles, or about 13 percent of northern California state waters. Seven special closures are also managed as part of the region’s complement of MPAs. The following table summarizes the area designations managed within the northern portion of the statewide MPA network:

Number Type Description
6
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
13
State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) An MPA designation that may allow some recreational and/or commercial take of marine resources (restrictions vary)
1
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)
7
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 northern California region cover approximately 1,027 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 Northern California MPAs (all): JPG | PDF


Del Norte County

Pyramid Point 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:

42° 00.000' N. lat. 124° 12.735' W. long.;
42° 00.000' N. lat. 124° 19.814' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
41° 57.500' N. lat. 124° 17.101' W. long.; and
41° 57.500' N. lat. 124° 12.423' 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 surf smelt by dip net or Hawaiian-type throw net is allowed.
    2. The following federally recognized tribe is exempt from the area and take regulations for Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes: Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation (previously the Smith River Rancheria).

Point St. George Reef Offshore 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:

41° 52.000' N. lat. 124° 23.189' W. long.;
41° 52.000' N. lat. 124° 25.805' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
41° 49.000' N. lat. 124° 26.252' W. long.;
41° 49.000' N. lat. 124° 23.189' W. long.; and
41° 52.000' N. lat. 124° 23.189' 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.
    3. The following federally recognized tribes (listed alphabetically) are exempt from the area and take regulations for Point St. George Offshore State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes: Elk Valley Rancheria, and Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation (previously the Smith River Rancheria).

Southwest Seal Rock Special Closure

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Special restrictions on boating and access apply to Southwest Seal 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 Southwest Seal Rock, located in the vicinity of 41° 48.810’ N. lat. 124° 21.099’ W. long.
  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 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Southwest Seal Rock.
  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 [2., above].

Castle Rock Special Closure

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Special restrictions on boating and access apply to Castle 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 Castle Rock, located in the vicinity of 41° 45.706’ N. lat. 124° 14.949’ W. long.
  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 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Castle Rock.
  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 [2., above].

False Klamath Rock Special Closure

JPG Map | PDF Map

Special restrictions on boating and access apply to False Klamath 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 False Klamath Rock, located in the vicinity of 41° 35.633’ N. lat. 124° 06.699’ W. long. during the period of March 1 to August 31.
  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 from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of False Klamath Rock during the period of March 1 to August 31.
  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 [2., above] during the period of March 1 to August 31.

Humboldt County

Reading Rock 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:

41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 04.911' W. long.;
41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.;
41° 17.600' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.; and
41° 17.600' N. lat. 124° 05.399' 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; surf smelt by dip net or Hawaiian-type throw net; and Dungeness crab by trap, hoop net or hand is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear; surf smelt by dip net; and Dungeness crab by trap is allowed.
    3. The following federally recognized tribe is exempt from the area and take regulations for Reading Rock State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes: Yurok Tribe of the Yurok Reservation.

Reading Rock 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:

41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.;
41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 14.655' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
41° 17.600' N. lat. 124° 11.963' W. long.;
41° 17.600' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.; and
41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.

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

Samoa 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:

40° 55.000' N. lat. 124° 08.432' W. long.;
40° 55.000' N. lat. 124° 12.677' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
40° 52.000' N. lat. 124° 14.225' W. long.; and
40° 52.000' N. lat. 124° 09.803' 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; surf smelt by dip net or Hawaiian-type throw net; and Dungeness crab by trap, hoop net or hand is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear; surf smelt by dip net; and Dungeness crab by trap is allowed.
    3. The following federally recognized tribe is exempt from the area and take regulations for Samoa State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes: Wiyot Tribe.

South Humboldt Bay State Marine Recreational Management 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:

40° 43.000' N. lat. 124° 15.527' W. long.;
40° 43.000' N. lat. 124° 15.000' W. long.;
40° 42.000' N. lat. 124° 15.000' W. long.; and
40° 42.000' N. lat. 124° 16.141' W. long.

Permitted/Prohibited Uses:

  1. 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, with the following specified exceptions:
    1. Waterfowl may be taken in accordance with the general waterfowl regulations (Sections 502, 550, 551, and 552).
    2. The following federally recognized tribe is exempt from the area and take regulations for South Humboldt Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes: Wiyot Tribe.

Sugarloaf Island Special Closure

JPG Map | PDF Map

Special restrictions on boating and access apply to Sugarloaf Island 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 Sugarloaf Island, located in the vicinity of 40° 26.326’ N. lat. 124° 24.827’ W. long.
  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 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Sugarloaf Island.
  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 [2., above].

South Cape Mendocino 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 except where noted:

40° 26.100' N. lat. 124° 24.340' W. long.;
40° 26.100' N. lat. 124° 31.958' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
40° 24.900' N. lat. 124° 31.084' W. long.; and
40° 24.900' N. lat. 124° 23.800' W. long.

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

Steamboat Rock Special Closure

JPG Map | PDF Map

Special restrictions on boating and access apply to Steamboat 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 Steamboat Rock, located in the vicinity of 40° 24.919’ N. lat. 124° 24.241’ W. long. during the period of March 1 to August 31.
  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 from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Steamboat Rock during the period of March 1 to August 31.
  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 [2., above] during the period of March 1 to August 31.

Mattole Canyon 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:

40° 20.000' N. lat. 124° 22.500' W. long.;
40° 20.000' N. lat. 124° 25.902' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
40° 17.000' N. lat. 124° 25.869' W. long.;
40° 17.000' N. lat. 124° 22.500' W. long.; and
40° 20.000' N. lat. 124° 22.500' W. long.

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

Sea Lion Gulch 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 except where noted:

40° 14.400' N. lat. 124° 19.983' W. long.;
40° 14.400' N. lat. 124° 25.943' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
40° 12.800' N. lat. 124° 24.809' W. long.; and
40° 12.800' N. lat. 124° 18.155' W. long.

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

Big Flat 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:

40° 09.400' N. lat. 124° 12.671' W. long.;
40° 09.400' N. lat. 124° 19.366' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
40° 07.500' N. lat. 124° 16.203' W. long.; and
40° 07.500' N. lat. 124° 10.313' 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, hoop net or hand is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear, and Dungeness crab by trap is allowed.
    3. The following federally recognized tribes (listed alphabetically) are exempt from the area and take regulations for Big Flat State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes:
      • Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria
      • Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria
      • Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
      • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria
      • Guidiville Rancheria
      • Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
      • Hopland Band of Pomo Indians of the Hopland Rancheria
      • Lower Lake Rancheria
      • Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria
      • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Pinoleville Pomo Nation
      • Potter Valley Tribe
      • Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation
      • Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Mendocino County

Double Cone Rock 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:

39° 48.500' N. lat. 123° 50.713' W. long.;
39° 48.500' N. lat. 123° 55.875' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
39° 44.300' N. lat. 123° 54.178' W. long.; and
39° 44.300' N. lat. 123° 50.055' 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, hoop net or hand is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear and Dungeness crab by trap is allowed.
    3. The following federally recognized tribes (listed alphabetically) are exempt from the area and take regulations for Double Cone Rock State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes:
      • Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria
      • Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
      • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria
      • Guidiville Rancheria
      • Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
      • Hopland Band of Pomo Indians of the Hopland Rancheria
      • Lower Lake Rancheria
      • Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria
      • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Pinoleville Pomo Nation
      • Potter Valley Tribe
      • Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation
      • Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Rockport Rocks Special Closure

JPG Map | PDF Map

Special restrictions on boating and access apply to Rockport Rocks 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 Rockport Rocks, located in the vicinity of 39° 44.184’ N. lat. 123° 50.020’ W. long. during the period of March 1 to August 31.
  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 from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Rockport Rocks during the period of March 1 to August 31.
  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 [2., above] during the period of March 1 to August 31.

Vizcaino Rock Special Closure

JPG Map | PDF Map

Special restrictions on boating and access apply to Vizcaino Rock located in the vicinity of 39° 43.618' N. lat. 123° 49.950' W. long. 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 of any shoreline of Vizcaino Rock westward of 123° 49.887’ W. longitude , during the period of March 1 to August 31.
  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 from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Vizcaino Rock westward of 123° 49.887’ W. longitude during the period of March 1 to August 31.
  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 [2., above] during the period of March 1 to August 31.

Ten Mile 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 except where noted:

39° 35.900' N. lat. 123° 47.243' W. long.;
39° 35.900' N. lat. 123° 51.479' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
39° 33.300' N. lat. 123° 50.559' W. long.; and
39° 33.300' N. lat. 123° 46.015' W. long.

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

Ten Mile Beach State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

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

39° 33.300' N. lat. 123° 46.015' W. long.;
39° 33.300' N. lat. 123° 50.559' W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
39° 32.500' N. lat. 123° 50.418' W. long.;
39° 32.500' N. lat. 123° 46.242' W. long.; thence northward along the mean high tide line onshore boundary to
39° 33.098' N. lat. 123° 46.003' W. long.;
39° 33.199' N. lat. 123° 45.966' 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, hoop net or hand is allowed.
    2. The commercial take of Dungeness crab by trap is allowed.
    3. The following federally recognized tribes (listed alphabetically) are exempt from the area and take regulations for Ten Mile Beach State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes:
      • Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria
      • Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
      • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria
      • Guidiville Rancheria
      • Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
      • Hopland Band of Pomo Indians of the Hopland Rancheria
      • Lower Lake Rancheria
      • Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria
      • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Pinoleville Pomo Nation
      • Potter Valley Tribe
      • Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation
      • Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Ten Mile Estuary State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area consists of waters below the mean high tide line within the Ten Mile Estuary, eastward of a line connecting the following two points:

39° 33.199' N. lat. 123° 45.966' W. long.; and
39° 33.098' N. lat. 123° 46.003' W. long.;

and westward of a line connecting the following two points:

39° 32.400' N. lat. 123° 44.785' W. long.; and
39° 32.382' N. lat. 123° 44.769' 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. Waterfowl may be taken in accordance with the general waterfowl regulations (Sections 502, 550, 551, and 552).
    2. Take pursuant to operation and maintenance of artificial structures inside the conservation area is allowed pursuant to any required federal, state and local permits, or as otherwise authorized by the Department.
    3. The following federally recognized tribes (listed alphabetically) are exempt from the area and take regulations for Ten Mile Estuary State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes:
      • Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria
      • Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
      • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria
      • Guidiville Rancheria
      • Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
      • Hopland Band of Pomo Indians of the Hopland Rancheria
      • Lower Lake Rancheria
      • Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria
      • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Pinoleville Pomo Nation
      • Potter Valley Tribe
      • Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation
      • Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians

MacKerricher 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:

39° 30.100' N. lat. 123° 47.327' W. long.;
39° 30.100' N. lat. 123° 49.000' W. long.;
39° 27.120' N. lat. 123° 49.000' W. long.; and
39° 27.120' N. lat. 123° 48.830' 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. All recreational take is allowed in accordance with current regulations.
    2. All commercial take is allowed in accordance with current regulations, except the commercial take of bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) and giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is prohibited.

Point Cabrillo 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:

39° 21.400' N. lat. 123° 49.418' W. long.;
39° 21.400' N. lat. 123° 50.000' W. long.;
39° 20.600' N. lat. 123° 50.000' W. long.; and
39° 20.600' N. lat. 123° 49.266' W. long.

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

Russian Gulch 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:

39° 19.860' N. lat. 123° 48.840' W. long.;
39° 19.860' N. lat. 123° 49.000' W. long.;
39° 19.470' N. lat. 123° 49.000' W. long.; and
39° 19.470' N. lat. 123° 48.500' 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. All recreational take is allowed in accordance with current regulations.
    2. All commercial take is allowed in accordance with current regulations, except the commercial take of bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) and giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is prohibited.

Big River Estuary State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area consists of waters below the mean high tide line within the Big River Estuary, eastward of a line connecting the following two points:

39° 18.134' N. lat. 123° 47.517' W. long.; and
39° 18.070' N. lat. 123° 47.543' W. long.;

and westward of a line connecting the following two points:

39° 18.222' N. lat. 123° 46.242' W. long.; and
39° 18.150' N. lat. 123° 46.240' 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 surfperch (family Embiotocidae) by hook-and-line from shore only; and Dungeness crab by hoop net or hand is allowed.
    2. Waterfowl may be taken in accordance with the general waterfowl regulations (Sections 502, 550, 551, and 552).
    3. Take pursuant to operation and maintenance of artificial structures inside the conservation area is allowed pursuant to any required federal, state and local permits, or as otherwise authorized by the Department.
    4. The following federally recognized tribes (listed alphabetically) are exempt from the area and take regulations for Big River Estuary State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes:
      • Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria
      • Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
      • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria
      • Guidiville Rancheria
      • Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
      • Hopland Band of Pomo Indians of the Hopland Rancheria
      • Lower Lake Rancheria
      • Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria
      • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Pinoleville Pomo Nation
      • Potter Valley Tribe
      • Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation
      • Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Van Damme State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and a straight line connecting the following points:

39° 16.335' N. lat. 123° 47.712' W. long.; and
39° 16.147' N. lat. 123° 47.429' 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. All recreational take is allowed in accordance with current regulations.
    2. All commercial take is allowed in accordance with current regulations, except the commercial take of bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) and giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is prohibited.

Navarro River Estuary State Marine Conservation Area

JPG Map | PDF Map

Boundary: This area consists of waters below the mean high tide line within the Navarro River Estuary, eastward of a line connecting the following two points:

39° 11.536' N. lat. 123° 45.685' W. long.; and
39° 11.489' N. lat. 123° 45.516' W. long.

and westward of a line connecting the following two points

39° 11.846' N. lat. 123° 44.809' W. long.; and
39° 11.803' N. lat. 123° 44.843' 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 salmonids by hook-and-line is allowed consistent with salmonid regulations in Section 7.50.
    2. Waterfowl may be taken in accordance with the general waterfowl regulations (Sections 502, 550, 551, and 552).
    3. The following federally recognized tribes (listed alphabetically) are exempt from the area and take regulations for Navarro River Estuary State Marine Conservation Area and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes:
      • Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria
      • Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
      • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria
      • Guidiville Rancheria
      • Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
      • Hopland Band of Pomo Indians of the Hopland Rancheria
      • Lower Lake Rancheria
      • Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria
      • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Pinoleville Pomo Nation
      • Potter Valley Tribe
      • Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians
      • Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation
      • Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
      • Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians

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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Northern California MPAs
Northern 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.