The California Fish and Game Commission chose October 1st, 2011 at its Thursday meeting for when a slew of marine protected areas in Southern California will take effect. The 49 areas and three special closures were developed under the Marine Life Protection Act to revive damaged ocean habitat.
The areas and closures cover approximately 354 square miles--that's about 15% of the region--between Point Conception in Santa Barbara County and the U.S./Mexico border. In December 2010 the commission agreed to nearly double the size of protected ocean square miles in Southern California. Currently, 182 square miles are established around the northern Channel Islands.
Commissioners chose the implementation date to allow time for ocean users to be informed of the new law. For background on the issue, including controversies that surfaced about fishing, check out SoCal Connected's report on commission vote in December.
Detail of MPA and special closure map. Download the full map here (.pdf)
Related Video: Ocean Defenders on SoCal Connected