South Coast Region

The south coast region was the third of the statewide regions to establish a network of MPAs. In that region of our coast marine biodiversity hot spots such as Lover’s Cove on Catalina Island, the lush kelp beds of South La Jolla, and the scuba diving destination of Naples Reef are protected while leaving over 80% of the coast waters open for fishing. Fifty MPAs and 2 special closure areas were designated from Point Conception in the north to the U.S./Mexico border in the south. The network of MPAs includes 13 MPAs and 2 special closures that were previously established at the northern Channel Islands. All together these MPAs cover approximately 354 square miles of state waters and represent approximately 15% of the region. These MPAs went into effect in 2012.

  • Take an interactive tour of California’s South Coast MPAs
  • Third of the statewide MPA regions to be implemented
  • Ranges from Point Conception in the north to the U.S./Mexico border in the south
  • Consists of 50 MPAs and 2 special closure areas
  • Of the 50 MPAs, 37 are new and 13 were pre-existing MPAs of the northern Channel Islands
  • Represent approximately 354 square miles or about 15% of state waters
  • Of the 37 new MPAs established, 4.9% or 116 square miles are no-take
  • Was adopted in December 2010 and went into effect in January 2012
  • Includes:
    • 21 State Marine Conservation Areas (SMCA)
    • 10 no-take State Marine Conservation Areas (SMCA)
    • 19 State Marine Reserves (SMR)
    • 2 Special Closures (SC)
  • Leaves 85% of South Coast state waters open for fishing

Click on individual MPAs below to see additional information on permitted and prohibited uses of the MPA, boundaries, and associated educational resources available for download.

South Coast MPA Map (1.1M JPEG)

MPAs in the South Coast Region:

Educational Resources:


The mission of the California’s Marine Protected Areas Education and Outreach Initiative is to enhance MPA education through enduring partnerships to empower Californians to protect what they know and love.