Skip to Main Content
Menu
Contact Us Search
Organization Title

Morro Bay State Marine Reserve

Morro Bay State Marine Reserve and State Marine Recreational Management Area

Like state and national parks protect wildlife and habitats on land, marine protected areas (MPAs) conserve and restore wildlife and habitats in our ocean. Under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) passed in 1999, California began a historic effort to establish a science-based, statewide network of MPAs through a collaborative effort that includes the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Parks. California is taking a regional approach to the design and implementation of MPAs, and has divided the state into five regions: the north coast, south coast, north central coast, central coast and San Francisco Bay.

MPAs contribute to healthier, more resilient ocean ecosystems that can better withstand a wide range of impacts such as pollution and climate change. By protecting entire ecosystems rather than focusing on a single species, MPAs are powerful tools for conserving and restoring ocean biodiversity, and protecting cultural resources, while allowing certain activities such as marine recreation and research. There is a global body of scientific evidence about the effectiveness of marine protected areas and reserves to restore marine ecosystems (http://www.piscoweb.org/outreach/pubs/reserves).

In the waters adjacent to the Morro Strand State Beach there are two MPAs, Morro Bay State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Morro Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA)

  • Morro Bay State Marine Reserve (SMR)
    • This area includes the area below mean high tide line within Morro Bay east of longitude 120° 50.34' W.
    • Hundreds of species of birds reside or migrate to these rich and diverse MPAs
    • Invertebrates such as gaper clams, shore crabs, and fat innkeeper worms along with many other species reside in the mud.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: No fishing. All take of living marine resources is prohibited.
    • Morro Bay Brochure - includes additional information on the natural history, key species, and regulations of this MPA, as well as a detailed map with GPS coordinates of the area.
  • Morro Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA)
    • This area includes the area below mean high tide within Morro Bay east of the Morro Bay entrance breakwater and west of longitude 120° 50.34' W.
    • The bay supports more than two-dozen endangered species
    • Marine mammals such as sea otters, sea lions and harbor seals eat and rest along the banks of Morro Bay
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: No recreational or commercial take of living marine resources, except north of 35 ̊19.70 N, recreational take of finfish and oyster aquaculture is allowed; Waterfowl hunting is allowed unless otherwise restricted by hunting regulations.
    • Morro Bay Brochure - includes additional information on the natural history, key species, and regulations of this MPA, as well as a detailed map with GPS coordinates of the area.

This information does not replace the official regulatory language found in California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 632, including commercial allowances and restrictions.

  • A fishing license is required for any fishing.
  • All existing take regulations still apply in addition to the ones listed above.
  • Unless otherwise stated, all non-consumptive recreational activities are allowed.

Additional Resources:

For additional information on MPAs please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's website: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/

For resources related to MPAs, please visit the Marine Protected Areas Education and Outreach Initiative's website: http://www.CaliforniaMPAs.org