The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the adoption of the 2016 Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas by the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) at their August 24 meeting in Folsom, California.
California is home to the largest scientifically designed network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the United States, comprising a total of 124 MPAs and 15 special closures which protect about 16 percent of state waters (approximately 9.6 percent in no-take MPAs). This accomplishment was the result of the California Legislature passing the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) in 1999. The MLPA required CDFW to redesign California’s system of MPAs through a highly participatory and stakeholder-driven design and siting process, which took place between 2004 and 2012 and spanned four coastal regions from Mexico to Oregon.
The MLPA also required CDFW to develop, and the Commission to adopt, a Master Plan that guides the implementation of a Marine Life Protection Program to improve the design and management of California’s MPAs, to the extent possible as a statewide network. A draft master plan for MPAs was adopted by the Commission as a living document in February 2008; this document guided the regional development of MPA proposals and resulted in the completion of California’s redesigned, statewide MPA network in December 2012. The 2016 Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas focuses on the shift from MPA design and planning to management of California’s redesigned MPA network, to meet the goals of the MLPA.
To create the 2016 Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas, CDFW worked in close collaboration with the Commission, California Ocean Protection Council, and California Ocean Science Trust. The 2016 Master Plan also reflects the input received from other state and federal agencies, California Tribes and Tribal governments, many other organizations, and the general public.
The 2016 Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas will be available soon on the CDFW Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas web page. For more information about California’s MPAs, please visit the California Marine Protected Area website.
post by Adam Frimodig, CDFW Environmental Scientist