Asilomar State Marine Reserve

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Rocks at Asilomar State Beach Rocks at the Asilomar State Beach.jpg
Rocks at Asilomar State Beach

Asilomar State Marine Reserve (SMR) is one of four small marine protected areas (MPAs) located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited. [1]

Contents

History

The Asilomar State Marine Reserve was established in September 2007 by the California Department of Fish and Game. It was one of 29 marine protected areas adopted during the first phase of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, which created a statewide network of marine protected areas along the California coastline. The reserve helps protect some of the central coast's most heavily used and accessible areas near the shore while leaving most of the coastal waters open for continued fishing. [1]

Geography and natural features

Asilomar SMR is located off the coast of the Monterey Peninsula, at the southern end of Monterey Bay. It covers an area of 1.51 square miles (3.9 km2). The reserve is directly offshore from Asilomar State Beach.

Asilomar SMR is the westernmost of four marine protected areas bordering the Monterey Peninsula. It is adjacent to the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area. Further east are the Lovers Point State Marine Reserve and the Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area. All four areas are included within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

This marine protected area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed: 36°38.22′N121°56.15′W / 36.63700°N 121.93583°W / 36.63700; -121.93583 (Asilomar SMR boundary point 1) , 36°38.90′N121°56.60′W / 36.64833°N 121.94333°W / 36.64833; -121.94333 (Asilomar SMR boundary point 2) and 36°36.60′N121°57.50′W / 36.61000°N 121.95833°W / 36.61000; -121.95833 (Asilomar SMR boundary point 3) . [1]

Habitat and wildlife

The Monterey Peninsula includes extensive tidepools brimming with life. Its sandy beaches are used by pupping harbor seals, and dense kelp beds offshore provide shelter for sea otters. The Asilomar SMR provides habitat for a variety of marine life, and includes kelp forest, beach, rocky intertidal, and soft and hard bottom. [2]

Recreation and nearby attractions

The natural environment and ocean resources of the Monterey Peninsula draw millions of visitors from around the world each year, including more than 60,000 scuba divers drawn by the area's ease of access, variety of wildlife, and kelp forests [3]

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a tourist attraction featuring a 28-foot (8.5 m) living kelp forest. The exhibit includes species native to the nearby marine protected areas. The aquarium also houses sea otters, intertidal wildlife, and occasionally sea turtles.

In addition to diving and visiting the aquarium, visitors to the Monterey Bay engage in kayaking, whale watching, charter fishing, surfing, bird watching, tidepooling and walking on the beach. Asilomar State Beach, adjacent to the reserve, has a .75 mile walking trail.

California's marine protected areas encourage recreational and educational uses of the ocean. [4] Activities such as kayaking, diving, snorkeling, and swimming are allowed unless otherwise restricted.

Scientific monitoring

As specified by the Marine Life Protection Act, select marine protected areas along California's central coast are being monitored by scientists to track their effectiveness and learn more about ocean health. Similar studies in marine protected areas located off of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands have already detected gradual improvements in fish size and number. [5]

Local scientific and educational institutions involved in the monitoring include the Hopkins Marine Station (located at the Lovers Point SMR), the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Research methods include hook-and-line sampling, scuba diver surveys, and the use of Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) submarines.

Related Research Articles

Monterey Bay Large salt water bay in California, USA

Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean located on the coast of the U.S. state of California. The bay is south of the major cities of San Francisco and San Jose. Santa Cruz is located at the north end of the bay, and Monterey is on the Monterey Peninsula at the south end. The "Monterey Bay Area" is a local colloquialism sometimes used to describe the whole of the Central Coast communities of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area

Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area in Carmel Bay. Carmel Bay is adjacent to the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea and is near Monterey, on California’s central coast. The marine protected area covers 2.12 square miles. Recreational fishing of finfish and limited commercial taking of kelp is permitted within the SMCA.

Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve Marine protected area immediately west of Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, California

Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area located at the northern edge of Santa Cruz, California, approximately 75 miles (121 km) south of San Francisco. The SMR covers 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing or other removal of any living marine resource is prohibited.

Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve

Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area that lies onshore from Salt Point State Park, within the Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area, in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 0.1 square miles. Gerstle Cove SMR prohibits the take of all living resources.

Del Mar Landing State Marine Reserve Marine protected area in California

Del Mar Landing State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area that lies onshore, about two miles (3 km) south of the town of Gualala and three and a half miles north of Sea Ranch in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 0.22 square miles (0.57 km2). Del Mar Landing SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources.

Montara State Marine Reserve & Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area

Montara State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore from Montara to Pillar Point in San Mateo County on California’s north central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 18.42 square miles (47.7 km2), with 11.76 square miles (30.5 km2) in the SMR and 6.66 in the SMCA. Montara SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources. Pillar Point SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational and commercial take of pelagic finfish by trolling or seine, the commercial or recreational take of Dungeness crab by trap and the commercial or recreational take or market squid by hand-held dip net or round haul net.

Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve & Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area

Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas along the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County on California’s north central coast. These marine protected areas cover a combined 4.04 square miles (10.5 km2), with 1.49 square miles (3.9 km2) in the SMR and 2.55 square miles (6.6 km2) in the SMCA. Drakes Estero SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources from Drakes Estero except the recreational take of clams and formerly the commercial aquaculture of shellfish pursuant to a disputed state water bottom lease and permit, which has been the subject of ongoing legal proceedings since 2012, when the lease was allowed to expire.

Carmel Pinnacles State Marine Reserve

Carmel Pinnacles State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area in Carmel Bay including a unique underwater pinnacle formation with adjacent kelp forest, submarine canyon head, and surfgrass. Carmel Bay is adjacent to the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea and is near Monterey, on California’s central coast.

Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area

Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four areas together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). Within SMCAs fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational take of finfish by hook-and-line and the commercial take of giant and bull kelp under certain conditions.

Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area

Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is one of two adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of San Mateo County and Santa Cruz County, on California's central coast. The area is approximately 55 miles (89 km) south of San Francisco. The SMCA is 11.81 square miles (30.6 km2). Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational take of giant kelp, squid, salmon, and other finfish, subject to various conditions. Also permitted is the commercial take of giant kelp, salmon, and squid, subject to various conditions.

Lovers Point State Marine Reserve

Lovers Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

Morro Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area and Morro Bay State Marine Reserve

Morro Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA) and Morro Bay State Marine Reserve (SMR) are two marine protected areas that provide protection for Morro Bay Estuary on California's central coast. The two marine protected areas together encompass 3.31 square miles (8.6 km2). Within the SMRMA, fishing and take of any living marine resources is prohibited except that north of latitude 35° 19.70′ N the recreational take of finfish and aquaculture of oysters, pursuant to a valid state water bottom lease and permit, is permitted. And recreational hunting of waterfowl is allowed unless otherwise restricted by hunting regulations. The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of any living marine resources is prohibited.

Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area

Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational take of finfish and the commercial take of giant and bull kelp by hand under certain conditions. According to the Frommer's guide, the Marine Gardens area is "renowned for ocean views, flowers, and tide-pool seaweed beds."

Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area

Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that lie offshore of San Luis Obispo County on California’s central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 19.68 square miles (51.0 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited. Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of salmon and albacore.

Portuguese Ledge State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is an offshore marine protected area in Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay is on California’s central coast with the city of Monterey at its south end and the city of Santa Cruz at its north end. The SMCA covers 10.9 square miles (28 km2). Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of pelagic finfish.

Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area

Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is an offshore marine protected area in Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay is on California’s central coast with the city of Monterey at its south end and the city of Santa Cruz at its north end. The SMCA covers 23.41 square miles (60.6 km2). Within the SMCA, fishing and taking of any living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of pelagic finfish.

White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area

White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area located off the coast of the city of Cambria, California on California’s central coast. The marine protected area covers 2.32 square miles (6.0 km2). Within the SMCA the take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial take of giant kelp and bull kelp under certain conditions.

Carmel Bay

Carmel Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean, along the central coast of California in Monterey County. The bay is 4 mi (6.4 km) long and 2 mi (3.2 km) wide with its mouth about 3 mi (4.8 km) across, between Point Carmel to the south and Point Cypress to the north; Monterey Bay is about four coastline miles north, with Point Pinos intervening.

Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Laguna Beach State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore of Laguna Beach in Orange County on California’s south coast. The SMR covers 6.27 square miles, and the SMCA covers an additional 3.44 square miles. These two MPAs are part of a four-MPA complex on the coast of southern Orange County. Each protects marine life by prohibiting or limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders.

Long Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area that includes offshore, island marine habitat off California’s south coast. The SMR covers 1.66 square miles. The SMR protect marine life by prohibiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders. Long Point SMR prohibits take of all living marine resources.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Guide to the Central California Marine Protected Areas: Pigeon Point to Point Conception (PDF). California Department of Fish and Game. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 13, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  2. "Appendix O. Regional MPA Management Plans" (PDF). Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas. California Department of Fish and Game. January 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  3. Department of Fish and Game. "Central Coast Regional Profile", page 89. Marine Life Protection Act Initiative.
  4. Department of Fish and Game. "California Fish and Game Code section 2853 (b)(3) Archived 2013-03-26 at the Wayback Machine ". Marine Life Protection Act. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  5. Jenn Castell; et al. (February 5, 2008). "How do patterns of abundance and size structure differ between fished and unfished waters in the Channel Islands? Results from SCUBA surveys" (PDF). Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) at University of California, Santa Barbara and University of California, Santa Cruz; Channel Islands National Park. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 31, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

Coordinates: 36°37.3′N121°56.7′W / 36.6217°N 121.9450°W / 36.6217; -121.9450