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

The northern California MPAs, from the California/Oregon border to Alder Creek (near Point Arena), are the northernmost component of a statewide MPA network. Major revisions and additions to northern California MPAs went into effect in state waters on December 19, 2012. State waters in the northern California region cover approximately 1,027 square miles of ocean, estuary, and offshore rock/island waters.

The 20 protected areas in this region (19 MPAs and one marine recreational management area) cover approximately 137 square miles, or about 13 percent of northern California state waters. Six special closures are also managed as part of the region’s complement of MPAs. The following table summarizes the area designations managed within the northern portion of the statewide MPA network:

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 6 0.20 0.02%
Total1 20 137.41 13.37%

1 Totals do not include special closures.


North Central California Region

The north central California MPAs, from Alder Creek (near Point Arena) to Pigeon Point, are one component of a statewide MPA network. Major revisions and additions to north central California MPAs went into effect in state waters on May 1, 2010. State waters in the north central California region cover approximately 763 square miles of ocean, estuary, and offshore rock/island waters.

The 25 protected areas in this region (22 MPAs and three marine recreational management areas) cover approximately 154 square miles, or about 20 percent of north central California state waters. Six special closures are also managed as part of the region’s complement of MPAs. The following table summarizes the area designations managed within the north central portion of the statewide MPA network:

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

The central California MPAs, from Pigeon Point to Point Conception, are one component of a statewide MPA network. Major revisions and additions to central California MPAs went into effect in state waters on September 21, 2007. State waters in the central California region cover approximately 1,144 square miles of ocean, estuary, and offshore rock/island waters.

The 29 protected areas in this region (28 MPAs and one marine recreational management area) cover approximately 204 square miles, or about 18 percent of central California state waters. The following table summarizes the area designations managed within the central portion of the statewide MPA network:

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

The Southern California MPAs, from Point Conception to the California-Mexico border, are the southernmost component of a statewide MPA network. Major revisions and additions to Southern California MPAs went into effect in state waters on January 1, 2012. State waters in the southern California region cover approximately 1,027 square miles of ocean, estuary, and offshore rock/island waters.

The 50 MPAs in this region cover approximately 356 square miles, or about 15 percent of Southern California state waters. Two special closures are also managed as part of the region’s complement of MPAs. The following table summarizes the area designations managed within the southern portion of the statewide MPA network:

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 protected 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 14 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 14 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.