Vizcaino Rock Special Closure and Rockport Rocks Special Closure

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 Westport-Union Landing State Beach, there are two Special Closures, Vizcaino Rock Special Closure and Rockport Rocks Special Closure. Special Closures are areas designated by the Fish and Game Commission that prohibit access or restrict boating activities in waters adjacent to sea bird rookeries or marine mammal haul-out sites (restrictions vary).

  • Vizcaino Rock Special Closure
    • From the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide of any shoreline of Vizcaino Rock westward of 123° 49.887' W. longitude, during the period of March 1 to August 31.
    • This special closure protects breeding seabirds, including: Black Oystercatcher, Brandt’s Cormorant, Common Murre, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet and Western Gull. This special closure supports approximately 8,800 breeding seabirds. Works as a complex with Rockport Rocks, with approximately 11,500 breeding seabirds in the complex.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.
    • Other Regulations:
      • Except as permitted by federal law or emergency caused by hazardous weather, no vessel shall be operated or anchored from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Vizcaino Rock westward of 123° 49.887' W. longitude during the period of March 1 to August 31.
      • No person shall enter the area during the period of March 1 to August 31, except for agencies identified in Title 14 Section 632 CCR, when performing their official duties.
  • Rockport Rocks Special Closure
    • From the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Rockport Rocks, located in the vicinity of 39° 44.184' N. lat. 123° 50.020' W. long during the period of March 1 to August 31.
    • This special closure protects breeding seabirds, including: Black Oystercatcher, Brandt’s Cormorant, Common Murre, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet and Western Gull. Works as a complex with Vizcaino Rock, with approximately 11,500 breeding seabirds in the complex. These small islands support more than 2,500 nesting seabirds.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.
    • Other Regulations:
      • Except as permitted by federal law or emergency caused by hazardous weather, no vessel shall be operated or anchored from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Rockport Rocks during the period of March 1 to August 31.
      • No person shall enter the area during the period of March 1 to August 31, except for agencies identified in Title 14 Section 632 CCR, when performing their official duties

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/