Skip to Main Content
Menu
Contact Us Search
Organization Title

Reading Rock State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) and Reading Rock State Marine Reserve (SMR)

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 near Humboldt Lagoons State Park, there are two MPAs, Reading Rock State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) and Reading Rock State Marine Reserve (SMR).

  • Reading Rock 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:
      41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 04.911' W. long.;
      41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.;
      41° 17.600' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.; and
      41° 17.600' N. lat. 124° 05.497' W. long.
    • As part of the Pacific Flyway, Humboldt Lagoons hosts more than 200 bird species, including endangered bald eagles, peregrine falcons and threatened Western snowy plovers. Black bears, herds of Roosevelt elk and bobcats can be seen in the park. Watch for whales, dolphins and sea lions offshore.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited EXCEPT the recreational take of salmon by trolling, surf smelt by dip net or Hawaiian type throw net, and Dungeness crab by trap, hoop net or hand; and the commercial take of salmon with troll fishing gear, surf smelt by dip net and Dungeness crab by trap.
    • The following federally recognized tribe is exempt from the area and take regulations for Reading Rock State Marine Conservation Area (subsection 632(b)(6)) and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes: Yurok Tribe of the Yurok Reservation

  • Reading Rock State Marine Reserve (SMR)
    • This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
      41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.;
      41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 14.655' W. long.;
      thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
      41° 17.600' N. lat. 124° 11.963' W. long.;
      41° 17.600' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.; and
      41° 20.100' N. lat. 124° 10.000' W. long.
    • The Reading Rock SMR protects many species including halibut, harbor seals, sealions, sharks, mussels, rays, kelp, murres, guillemots, cormorants, auklets, lingcod, cabezon, and kelp greenling. The SMR encompasses both rocky reef bottom habitat as well as sandy bottom habitat that includes a significant nursery area for Dungeness crab, and numerous rockfish & flatfish species
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

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