Begg Rock State Marine Reserve (SMR) sits 60 miles south of Ventura, offshore of the southern California mainland and more than eight miles off the northwest side of San Nicolas Island. This marine protected area (MPA) protects the waters around Begg Rock and encompasses nearly 38 square miles of the Pacific Ocean. Begg Rock is an exposed offshore pinnacle surrounded by rocky reef habitat. Although most of the deep seafloor within the SMR is sand and other soft sediments, over 13 square miles of rocky seafloor provides shelter for an amazing array of sea life within its crags, crevices and ridges.
Begg Rock itself rises up from depths of more than 300 feet, reaching 15 feet above the ocean surface. Exposed to strong open ocean currents, the massive pinnacle system is covered with filter feeders such as mussels, anemones, bryozoans, sponges, and scallops. This offshore SMR often experiences rough and windy conditions. Although not out of reach, visiting this MPA requires a seven- to eight-hour boat ride from Ventura.
It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.
California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 632(b)(115)
MPA size: 37.96 square miles
Depth range: 0 to 374 feet
- Rock: 13.20 square miles
- Sand/mud: 24.76 square miles