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Regional MPA Statistics

The following is a north-to-south regional summary of marine protected area (MPA) and other marine managed area classifications that occur within each region.

Northern California Region

This region covers approximately 1,027 square miles (sq mi) of state waters from the California/Oregon border south to Alder Creek near Point Arena (Mendocino County). A network of 20 marine managed areas (including 19 MPAs and one state marine recreational management area) covers approximately 137 sq mi1 of state waters or about 13% of the northern California region. These marine managed areas, along with seven special closures, were adopted June 6, 2012 by the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) and went into effect December 19, 2012.

Type of Protected Area Count Area (sq mi) in Northern California Waters Percent of Northern California Waters
SMR 6 51.28 4.99%
SMCA 13 85.32 8.30%
SMRMA 1 0.81 0.08%
Special Closures1 7 0.20 0.02%
Total1 20 137.41 13.37%

1 Totals do not include special closures.


North Central California Region

This region covers approximately 763 sq mi of state waters from Alder Creek near Point Arena (Mendocino County) south to Pigeon Point (San Mateo County). A network of 25 marine managed areas (including 22 MPAs and three state marine recreational management areas) covers approximately 152 sq mi1 of state waters or about 20% of the north central California region. These marine managed areas, along with six special closures, were adopted August 5, 2009 by the Commission and went into effect May 1, 2010.

Type of Protected Area Count Area (sq mi) in North Central California Waters Percent of North Central California Waters
SMR 10 84.24 11.04%
SMCA 12 67.61 8.86%
SMRMA 3 0.56 0.07%
Special Closures1 6 1.16 0.15%
Total1 25 152.41 19.97%

1 Totals do not include special closures.


Central California Region

This region covers approximately 1,144 sq mi of state waters from Pigeon Point (San Mateo County) south to Point Conception (Santa Barbara County). A network of 29 marine managed areas (including 28 MPAs and one state marine recreational management area) covers approximately 207 sq mi1 of state waters or about 18% of the central California region. These marine managed areas were adopted April 13, 2007 by the Commission and went into effect September 21, 2007.

Type of Protected Area Count Area (sq mi) in Central California Waters Percent of Central California Waters
SMR 13 86.25 7.54%
SMCA 14 111.21 9.72%
SMCA/SMP1 1 6.26 0.55%
SMRMA 1 3.07 0.27%
Total2 29 206.79 18.08%

1 SMCA/SMP - The California Fish and Game Commission designated Cambria SMCA, which was subsequently also adopted as Cambria SMP by the State Park and Recreation Commission (August 2010) with the same boundaries and no change to regulations.  Therefore, this marine protected area has dual designations, as reflected in the table.
2 Totals do not include special closures.


Southern California Region

This region covers approximately 2,351 sq mi of state waters from Point Conception (Santa Barbara County) south to the California/Mexico border, including state waters around the Channel Islands. A network of 50 MPAs (including the 13 previously established at the northern Channel Islands that were retained without change) covers approximately 355 sq mi1 of state waters or about 15% of the Southern California region. These marine managed areas, along with two special closures, were adopted December 15, 2010 by the Commission and went into effect on January 1, 2012.

Type of Protected Area Count Area (sq mi) in Southern California Waters Percent of Southern California Waters
SMR 19 241.46 10.27%
SMCA (no-take) 10 33.60 1.43%
SMCA 21 80.36 3.42%
Special Closures1 2 1.89 0.08%
Total1 50 355.42 15.12%

1 Totals include northern Channel Islands MPAs (effective since 2003), and do not include special closures.


Statewide Totals

California covers a total of approximately 5,285 sq mi of coastal state waters (excluding state waters in San Francisco Bay which represent approximately 473 sq mi). The statewide coastal network includes 124 marine managed areas (including 119 MPAs and five state marine recreational management areas) that cover approximately 852 sq mi1 of state waters or about 16% of all coastal state waters (approximately 9% is in SMRs). There are also 15 special closures statewide.

Type of Protected Area Count Area (sq mi) in
All Coastal State Waters1
Percent of All Coastal
State Waters1
SMR 48 463.23 8.76%
SMCA (no-take) 10 33.60 0.64%
SMCA 60 344.50 6.52%
SMCA/SMP2 1 6.26 0.12%
SMRMA 5 4.43 0.08%
Special Closures3 15 3.25 0.06%
Total3 124 852.02 16.12%

1 Excluding state waters in San Francisco Bay.
2 The California Fish and Game Commission designated Cambria SMCA, which was subsequently also adopted as Cambria SMP by the State Park and Recreation Commission (August 2010) with the same boundaries and no change to regulations. Therefore, this marine protected area has dual designations, as reflected in the table.
3 Statewide totals include all MPAs effective in the north coast, north central coast, central coast, and south coast regions, and do not include special closures or existing MPAs in the San Francisco Bay.



Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA  93940
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