South Humboldt Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA)

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 (

In the waters near Fort Humboldt State Historic Park, there is one MPA, South Humboldt Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA).

  • South Humboldt Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA)
    • This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
      40° 43.000' N. lat. 124° 15.527' W. long.;
      40° 43.000' N. lat. 124° 15.000' W. long.;
      40° 42.000' N. lat. 124° 15.000' W. long.; and
      40° 42.000' N. lat. 124° 16.141' W. long.
    • The South Humboldt Bay SMRMA is critical habitat for seabirds, migratory waterfowl, plants and Harbor Seals and other marine mammals. It is also an important nursery for marine and estuary fishes, including halibut, leopard sharks and rays. Millions of migratory birds rely on this area along the Pacific Flyway and more than 200 bird species, including 80 kinds of water birds and four endangered species, regularly feed, rest, or nest on the refuge or other areas around the bay. Provides habitat for approximately 100 species of fish, many of which contribute to sport/commercial fisheries and provides habitat for steelhead, Coho, and Chinook salmon.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.
    • The following federally recognized tribe is exempt from the area and take regulations for South Humboldt Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area (subsection 632(b)(9)) and shall comply with all other existing regulations and statutes: Wiyot Tribe
    • Waterfowl may be taken in accordance with the general waterfowl regulations (Sections 502, 550, 551, and 552).

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:

For resources related to MPAs, please visit the Marine Protected Areas Education and Outreach Initiative’s website: