Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Point Lobos State Marine Reserve

One stretch of coastline in Central California is so picturesque it is considered by some to be “the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world.”  This area, filled with amazing hiking trails, abundant marine life, and unparalleled scuba diving, is just a short drive south of the Monterey Peninsula. Continue reading

Agencies Mull Options to Prepare for Future Domoic Acid Events

crab testing
CDPH staff collects viscera from cooked crabs during domoic acid testing in 2015.   photo courtesy CDPH

In 2015 and 2016, there was an unprecedented bloom of a single-celled plant called Pseudo-nitzschia in ocean waters, which resulted in  elevated levels of domoic acid in Dungeness crab and rock crab. The elevated levels of domoic acid in crab along the West Coast impacted California fisheries from Santa Barbara to the Oregon Border.

The conditions that support the growth of Pseudo-nitzschia are impossible to predict, but tend to be more common in the warmer months Continue reading

Last Day of Northern California Recreational Dungeness Crab Season Approaches; New Crab Regulations to Take Effect Aug. 1

crab
Dungeness crab   photo by K. Joe

Although the Dungeness crab season was delayed in some parts of California until May this year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds the public that  the last day of the recreational Dungeness crab season is already nearly here. This Saturday, July 30, will be the last day of the season from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line to the California-Oregon border. The commercial fishing season for this area ended last Friday, July 15. Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Castle Rock Special Closure

Castle Rock
Castle Rock’s mere 14 acres hosts thousands of seabirds every year.    photo by S. Harris, USFWS

As a surfer in northern California, I get to enjoy spectacular views of the California coastline. In between waves, there are times when I look around in awe at the scenery – geometric rock outcroppings, softened by endless treetops, further improved by chance sightings of curious wildlife. Of all the beautiful spots in northern California, one of my favorites is special to more creatures than just surfers – Castle Rock Special Closure. Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Point Conception State Marine Reserve

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Cruising north along the Santa Barbara coast can be smooth sailing across sheltered waters, with the majestic backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains towering above expansive kelp beds and calm sandy beaches. As you get close to Point Conception, however, wise mariners know that smooth sailing can simply be the calm before the storm. Continue reading