California Department of Fish and Wildlife

MLPA Summary

The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) of 1999 directs the state to redesign California's system of marine protected areas (MPAs) to function as a network in order to: increase coherence and effectiveness in protecting the state's marine life and habitats, marine ecosystems, and marine natural heritage, as well as to improve recreational, educational and study opportunities provided by marine ecosystems subject to minimal human disturbance. There are six goals that guide the development of MPAs in the MLPA planning process:

  1. Protect the natural diversity and abundance of marine life, and the structure, function and integrity of marine ecosystems.
  2. Help sustain, conserve and protect marine life populations, including those of economic value, and rebuild those that are depleted.
  3. Improve recreational, educational and study opportunities provided by marine ecosystems that are subject to minimal human disturbance, and to manage these uses in a manner consistent with protecting biodiversity.
  4. Protect marine natural heritage, including protection of representative and unique marine life habitats in CA waters for their intrinsic values.
  5. Ensure California's MPAs have clearly defined objectives, effective mgmt. measures and adequate enforcement and are based on sound scientific guidelines.
  6. Ensure the State's MPAs are designed and managed, to the extent possible, as a network.

To help achieve these goals, three MPA designations (state marine reserves, state marine parks and state marine conservation areas), one Marine Managed Area (state marine management area) and special closures were used in the MLPA planning process.