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Piedras Blancas SMR & SMCA, Cambria SMP and White Rock (Cambria) SMCA

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 Game 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 Hearst San Simeon State Park there are four MPAs, Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve (SMR), Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), Cambria State Marine Park (SMP) and White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)

  • Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve (SMR)
    • This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
    • 35° 42.85' N. lat. 121° 18.95' W. long.;
      35° 42.85' N. lat. 121° 21.00' W. long.;
      35° 39.15' N. lat. 121° 18.50' W. long.; and
      35° 39.15' N. lat. 121° 14.45' W. long.
    • Sweeping ocean currents nourish and replenish kelp forests, isolated beaches offer safety for elephant seals to breed and give birth, and countless delicate intertidal creatures thrive in thousands of tidepools that dot the rocky coast.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: No fishing; All take is prohibited.
    • Piedras Blancas 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.

  • Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)
    • This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
    • 35° 42.85' N. lat. 121° 21.00' W. long.;
      35° 42.85' N. lat. 121° 22.85' W. long.;
      thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
      35° 39.15' N. lat. 121° 20.90' W. long.;
      35° 39.15' N. lat. 121° 18.50' W. long.; and
      35° 42.85' N. lat. 121° 21.00' W. long.
    • This wild stretch of California’s central coast is a rare jewel, teeming with marine life.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: No fishing except recreational and commercial take of salmon and albacore.
    • Piedras Blancas 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.

  • Cambria State Marine Park (SMP)
    • This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
      35° 37.10' N. lat. 121° 09.20' W. long.;
      35° 37.10' N. lat. 121° 10.70' W. long.;
      35° 32.85' N. lat. 121° 06.70' W. long.; and
      35° 32.85' N. lat. 121° 05.85' W. long.
    • This area is known as a mecca for nature enthusiasts who hike, photograph, kayak, SCUBA dive, snorkel and enjoy a “look but do NOT disturb” approach to wildlife.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Recreational fishing allowed; No commercial fishing allowed.
    • Cambria Brochure - information on the natural history, key species, and regulations of this MPA, as well as a detailed map with GPS coordinates of the area.

  • White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)
    • This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
      35° 32.85' N. lat. 121° 05.85' W. long.;
      35° 32.85' N. lat. 121° 06.70' W. long.;
      35° 30.50' N. lat. 121° 05.00' W. long.; and
      35° 30.50' N. lat. 121° 03.40' W. long.
    • South of Cambria and next to the University of California Natural Reserve site at Rancho Marino lies the rugged White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area. Several ongoing research projects in this area provide valuable insights for how to better protect our ocean planet, and show the value of efforts to preserve the lush kelp beds and biologically rich intertidal zones. 
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: No fishing; All take is prohibited.
    • Cambria Brochure - 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/