Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Portuguese Ledge State Marine Conservation Area

Portuguese Ledge State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) lies four miles offshore of the Monterey peninsula in central California. The SMCA was established following the passage of the Marine Life Protection Act in 1999, which mandated the redesign of California’s marine protected area (MPA) system into a cohesive network. Currently, only 14 of the 124 state MPAs protect deepwater, submarine canyon habitat; Portuguese Ledge SMCA was one of the first such MPAs to be established. Continue reading