Point Lobos State Marine Reserve and State Marine Conservation 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 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).

In the waters adjacent to the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve are two MPAs, Point Lobos State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA).

  • Point Lobos State Marine Reserve (SMR)
    • Extends from the rocky point on the north side of Monastery Beach in the north to the mouth of Mal Paso Creek in the south.
    • Marine mammals such as sea otters, sea lions and harbor seals find shelter along the shore.
    • Over 300 species of birds can be found benefiting from the abundance of food and habitat afforded by protected land and seas.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: No fishing. All take of living marine resources is prohibited.
  • For additional information on the Point Lobos SMR, please visit: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=96758&inline
  • Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)
    • This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted: 36° 31.70’ N. lat. 121° 58.25’ W. long.; 36° 31.70’ N. lat. 122° 01.30’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to 36° 28.88’ N. lat. 122° 00.55’ W. long.; 36° 28.88’ N. lat. 121° 58.25’ W. long.; and 36° 31.70’ N. lat. 121° 58.25’ W. long.
    • Many species of fish live in the kelp forests, sandy bottoms and deep canyons off Point Lobos. Cabezon, vermillion rockfish and blue rockfish hide among the kelp, while mola mola may be found basking on the surface offshore. Goby and sculpin can be found darting amongst the tidepools.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: No fishing except recreational and commercial take of salmon, albacore, and commercial take of spot prawn.
  • For additional information on the Point Lobos SMCA, please visit: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=96754&inline

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 Game’s website: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/MPAs

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