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November 29, 2012

California's North Coast Marine Protected Areas Become Effective December 19

California's New Network of Fishing Closures Will Take Effect Weeks Ahead of Schedule

Nineteen additional marine protected areas (MPAs) will become effective next month off the northern California coast, stretching northward from Point Arena to the Oregon border, completing the statewide network of MPAs, according to the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG).

The December 19 effective date is weeks earlier than expected, the DFG said in a news release announcing the new MPAs. The State Office of Administrative Law appears to have fast-tracked its review and approval of the north coast MPA regulations and boundaries adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission (CFGC) in June 2012.

Developed pursuant to the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), the north coast network consists of 19 MPAs, one State Marine Recreational Management Area and seven special closures, covering approximately 137 square miles of state waters and 13 percent of the region. The new MPAs include four of the five pre-existing MPAs on the north coast. The MPA at Punta Gorda (Punta Gorda State Marine Reserve) will be removed from the network.

A complete listing of all north coast MPAs, including detailed regulations and maps, can be found at dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/ncmpas_list.asp. DFG’s MPA mobile website, located at dfg.ca.gov/m/MPA, will be updated on December 19 to reflect the new MPAs going into effect. The mobile website allows the public to locate any current MPA boundaries and regulations by using an interactive map or searching by name, county or general area. A mobile device’s GPS can also be used to find and track a person’s current location relative to any MPA.

In addition to the mobile website, boaters can view MPAs on nautical charts or other background maps by visiting MarineBIOS at dfg.ca.gov/marine/gis/viewer.asp, DFG’s interactive online marine and coastal map viewer. For more information on the north coast MPAs or the MLPA, please visit dfg.ca.gov/mlpa.