Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Cambria State Marine Conservation Area

Along Highway 1 nestled between the cities of San Simeon and Cambria in San Luis Obispo County is a 5.8 mile stretch of beautiful coastline and the Cambria State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA).

Map of Cambria State Marine Conservation Area/State Marine Park
Cambria State Marine Conservation Area/State Marine Park* (click to enlarge)
CDFW map by Marine Region GIS Lab

Regulations for Cambria SMCA, and its neighbor to the south, White Rock SMCA, were adopted by the Fish and Game Commission in 2006 and went into effect in 2007 as part of the first regional implementation phase of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). Passed in 1999, the MLPA mandated California create a science-based ecologically connected network of marine protected areas (MPAs). While recreational take is allowed, commercial take is prohibited in this MPA. Cambria SMCA is also nestled within the larger federally managed Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary which was implemented in 1992. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Cambria State Marine Conservation Area”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area

Map of Swami's SMCA
Map of Swami’s SMCA (click to enlarge)

Located offshore of Encinitas, about 50 miles north of the United States-Mexico border, Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a popular destination for visitors year-round, owing to its consistently pleasant weather and expansive beaches. Established in 2012 along with 49 other marine protected areas (MPAs) south of Point Conception, Swami’s SMCA protects nearly 13 square miles of marine habitats, including sandy beaches, surfgrass beds, rocky coasts, underwater reefs, and kelp forests. Protecting multiple habitats within MPAs, especially large MPAs like Swami’s SMCA, was one of the scientific guidelines stakeholders used when tasked with designing California’s MPAs. With these habitats protected in one location, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy the underwater world along this stretch of coast. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area”

Marine Region’s 2019 Year in Review Now Available!

2019 Year in Review and By the NumbersThe 2019 Year in Review is now available for your reading pleasure along with its companion document By the Numbers. The Year in Review is a condensed one-stop shop of the entire year’s accomplishments and our By the Numbers summarizes some of the most important commercial and recreational fishing numbers for your easy review. In other words, if you only read two documents from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Region this year, these are them! Continue reading “Marine Region’s 2019 Year in Review Now Available!”

Draft Aquaculture Informational Report to be Presented to the Marine Resources Committee on March 17

Aquaculture operations
Aquaculture operations. CDFW photo

In 2006, the State enacted Senate Bill 201 which requires the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), in consultation with the Aquaculture Development Committee, to “prepare programmatic environmental impact reports (PEIRs) for existing and potential commercial aquaculture operations in both coastal and inland areas of the state [if certain conditions are met]…”. Due to the complexities of this legislation, a draft PEIR has not yet been published as CDFW continues to work towards determination of an appropriate path forward in both the design and implementation of a management framework for existing aquaculture operations and potential future operations.

As a step toward providing a common understanding of existing marine aquaculture activities in the State, the potential impacts of those activities, and future considerations of expansion, CDFW has developed a draft informational report on commercial marine aquaculture in California. Building off the extensive body of work that was developed for previous versions of the PEIR, the report describes the primary marine aquaculture species and culture methods currently approved, a summary of environmental settings and potential impacts, the current management context including primary policies and management authorities, and expected opportunities and challenges facing the future development and management of commercial marine aquaculture.

The draft report will be presented to the California Fish and Game Commission’s (Commission) Marine Resources Committee on March 17, and CDFW is recommending it be submitted to the Commission at their April 15-16, 2020 meeting to provide a foundation for public discussion around current and future commercial marine aquaculture in California.


post by Kathryn Johnson, CDFW Environmental Scientist

New Regulations for Recreational Lobster Fishing, Report Card Results Available

diver with lobster
Divers looking to take spiny lobster will want to review new regulations for this season. CDFW photo by D. Stein

As the popular recreational California spiny lobster season prepares to open on Saturday, Sept. 30, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds divers and hoop netters of new regulations that will be in effect for the 2017-2018 season. The California Fish and Game Commission adopted commercial and recreational lobster fishing regulations at its April 2016 meeting to support the implementation of the California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan. A summary of the new recreational Continue reading “New Regulations for Recreational Lobster Fishing, Report Card Results Available”