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Salt Point SMCA, Gerstle Cove SMR, Stewarts Point SMR & 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 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 Salt Point State Park there are four MPAs, Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve (SMR), Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)

  • Salt Point 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:
      38° 35.60' N. lat. 123° 20.80' W. long.;
      38° 35.60' N. lat. 123° 21.00' W. long.;
      38° 33.50' N. lat.123° 21.00' W. long.; and
      38° 33.50' N. lat. 123° 18.91' W. long.,
      except that Gerstle Cove as described below is excluded.
    • Bull kelp is an important marine habitat off the coast of Salt Point. It serves as a home to countless marine organisms including numerous species of rockfish and marine invertebrates. Bull kelp can grow up to 10 inches every day during the spring and summer months, making the water appear dark due to its thick cover!
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational take of abalone and finfish.
    • Salt Point 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.

  • Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve (SMR)
    • This area lies within the Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area and is bounded by the mean high tide line and a straight line connecting the following points:
      38° 33.95' N. lat. 123° 19.92' W. long.; and
      38° 33.95' N. lat. 123° 19.76' W. long.
    • The sheltered sea at Gerstle Cove SMR, a long standing MPA since 1971, supports a productive tidepool habitat teeming with life!
    • Invertebrates such as red abalone, sea urchins and shore crabs thrive here and are protected in this SMR.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.
    • Gerstle Cove 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.

  • Stewarts Point 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 except where noted:
      38° 40.50' N. lat. 123° 25.37' W. long.;
      38° 40.50' N. lat. 123° 30.24' W. long.;
      thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
      38° 35.60' N. lat. 123° 26.01' W. long.; and
      38° 35.60' N. lat. 123° 20.80' W. long.
      except that Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area as described below is excluded
    • Numerous fish species find shelter among the rocky reefs along this stretch of coast including lingcod, cabezon, rockfish and greenlings.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.
    • Stewarts Point 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.

  • Stewarts Point 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:
      38° 40.500' N. lat. 123° 25.370' W. long.;
      38° 40.500' N. lat. 123° 25.500' W. long.;
      38° 37.500' N. lat. 123° 23.500' W. long.; and
      38° 37.535' N. lat. 123° 23.027' W. long.
    • This stretch of coast provides excellent recreational opportunities including SCUBA diving, hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing and tidepooling.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the following may be taken recreationally from shore only: marine aquatic plants other than sea palm, marine invertebrates, finfish by hook and line, surf smelt by beach net and species authorized in Section 28.80 of CCR Title 14 by hand-held dip net.
    • Stewarts Point 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/