Carmel Pinnacles State Marine Reserve (SMR) is located offshore from Monterey County, about one mile southwest of Pescadero Point. Encompassing roughly half a square mile of offshore waters, this marine protected area (MPA) protects impressive granite spires and kelp forests and contains dozens of species of rockfish and invertebrates. The diverse underwater landscape draws recreational divers from around the world, with depths ranging from about 70 to 220 feet. Invertebrates like anemones, barnacles, and chestnut cowries occupy the rocks at shallower depths. As depth increases, an array of rockfish like China rockfish and vermilion rockfish, cabezon, lingcod, kelp greenlings, and larger predators become abundant. Black rockfish, blue rockfish, lingcod, and copper rockfish traverse between rocky spires that rise up from the seafloor.
Nearby areas that do not have fishing restrictions can benefit from the ‘spillover’ of healthy fish populations, which thrive in Carmel Pinnacles SMR. No take is allowed within the boundaries of Carmel Pinnacles SMR, but anglers can visit adjacent Carmel Bay SMCA to the east, which allows the recreational take of finfish.
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)(79)(opens in new tab)
MPA size: 0.53 square miles
Depth range: 69 to 223 feet
- Rock: 0.40 square miles
- Sand/mud: 0.13 square miles