New marine protected areas went into effect Jan. 1 from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County, Calif., to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the state’s Department of Fish and Game.
In December, the state Office of Administrative Law approved the regulatory package put forward by the California Fish and Game Commission that sets rules and boundaries for the south coast marine protected areas.
Nearly a year ago the commission adopted regulations to create a suite of MPAs in the south coast region. Developed pursuant to the California Marine Life Protection Act, this network of 50 MPAs (including 13 pre-existing MPAs retained at the northern Channel Islands) and two special closures covers about 354 square miles of state waters and represents about 15 percent of the region.
On Jan. 1, state Department of Fish and Game wardens began enforcing regulations in the MPAs.