Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area

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Monterey Bay

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. [1]

Contents

History

The two State Marine Conservation Areas were established in September 2007 by the California Department of Fish & Game. They were two 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. [2]

Geography and natural features

Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area is located off the coast of the Monterey Peninsula, at the southern end of Monterey Bay. It covers an area of .22 sq. miles. The reserve is directly offshore from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. It was named for Edward F. Ricketts (1897–1948) who founded the Pacific Biological Laboratories in Monterey. It is the easternmost of four marine protected areas bordering the Monterey Peninsula.

Edward F. Ricketts SMCA is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed: [3] 36°36.50′N121°53.37′W / 36.60833°N 121.88950°W / 36.60833; -121.88950 (E corner Edward F. Ricketts SMCA) Coordinates: 36°36.50′N121°53.37′W / 36.60833°N 121.88950°W / 36.60833; -121.88950 (E corner Edward F. Ricketts SMCA) , 36°37.25′N121°53.78′W / 36.62083°N 121.89633°W / 36.62083; -121.89633 (N corner Edward F. Ricketts SMCA) , and 36°37.10′N121°54.09′W / 36.61833°N 121.90150°W / 36.61833; -121.90150 (W corner Edward F. Ricketts SMCA) ,then the mean high tide line along the coast back to the breakwater of Monterey Harbor.

The Lovers Point State Marine Reserve is adjacent to the west of Ricketts SMCA, and then beyond that the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area. It is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed: [4] 36°37.6′N121°54.91′W / 36.6267°N 121.91517°W / 36.6267; -121.91517 (S corner Pacific Grove SMCA) , 36°37.6′N121°54.75′W / 36.6267°N 121.91250°W / 36.6267; -121.91250 (E corner Pacific Grove SMCA) , 36°38.7′N121°55.4′W / 36.6450°N 121.9233°W / 36.6450; -121.9233 (N angle corner Pacific Grove SMCA) , 36°38.9′N121°56.6′W / 36.6483°N 121.9433°W / 36.6483; -121.9433 (NW corner Pacific Grove SMCA) ,and 36°38.22′N121°56.15′W / 36.63700°N 121.93583°W / 36.63700; -121.93583 (W coast Pacific Grove SMCA) , then along to coast back to the first point.

Farther south and west is the Asilomar State Marine Reserve. All four areas are included within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

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. SMCAs provide habitat for a variety of marine life, and includes kelp forest, beach, rocky intertidal, and soft and hard bottom. [5]

Recreation

The natural beauty and ocean resources of the Monterey Peninsula draw millions of visitors from around the world each year, including more than 65,000 scuba divers drawn by the area’s easy access, variety of wildlife, and massive kelp forests.

In addition to diving and visiting the aquarium, people enjoy the Monterey Bay by kayaking, whale watching, charter fishing, and eating an array of locally sourced seafood restaurants.

California’s marine protected areas encourage recreational and educational uses of the ocean. [6] 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. [7] Local scientific and educational institutions involved in the monitoring include the Hopkins Marine Station *located between the two SMCAs), 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 bay of the Pacific Ocean in California, United States

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. The county-seat city of Santa Cruz is located at the north end of the bay. The city of 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.

Asilomar State Marine Reserve

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.

Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area

Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is one of two adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, on California’s central coast. The area is approximately 55 miles south of San Francisco. The SMCA is 11.07 square miles. Except for limited taking of giant kelp, all living marine resources are protected.

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.

Russian River State Marine Reserve and Russian River State Marine Conservation Area marine protected areas in California

Russian River State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA) and Russian River State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas in the Russian River estuary area in Sonoma County, California, on the north-central coast of the state. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 1.21 square miles (3.1 km2), with 0.35 square miles (0.91 km2) in the SMRMA and 0.86 square miles (2.2 km2) in the SMCA.

Cambria State Marine Conservation Area

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 in San Luis Obispo County, California. The marine protected area covers 6.26 square miles (16.2 km2). Within the SMCA recreational fishing and take is allowed while commercial fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

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.

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.

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."

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.

Naples State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area that protects Naples Reef which is about three-quarters of a mile offshore along the middle of the pristine and rural Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County on California’s south coast. The SMCA covers 2.58 square miles. The MPAs protects marine life by limiting the removal of wildlife from within its borders.

Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area that extends offshore of Encinitas in San Diego County on California’s south coast. The SMCA covers 12.65 square miles. The SMCA protects marine life by limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders.

Carmel Bay

Carmel Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean, along the central coast of California in Monterey County. The bay is 4 miles long and 2 miles wide with its mouth about three miles 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.

Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area

Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is one of four adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of Orange County, CA, on California’s South Coast. By itself, the SMCA measures 3.45 square miles. The SMCA protects marine life by limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders, including tide pools. Dana Point SMCA prohibits take of living marine resources except: only the following species may be taken recreationally below the mean lower low tide line only: finfish by hook-and-line or by spearfishing, and lobster and sea urchin. The commercial take of coastal pelagic species by round haul net, and spiny lobster and sea urchin only is allowed.

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.

Upper Newport Bay State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area in Newport Bay in Orange County and the South Coast region of Southern California. It extends inland/northeast from the Pacific Coast Highway crossing of the bay, within the city of Newport Beach.

Farnsworth Onshore and Farnsworth Offshore State Marine Conservation Areas (SMCAs) are two contiguous marine protected areas that include offshore, island marine habitat off California’s south coast. The SMCAs covers 2.57 and 6.67 square miles respectively. The SMCAs protect marine life by limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within their borders. Farnsworth Onshore SMCA prohibits take of all living marine resources except: recreational take of pelagic finfish, including Pacific bonito, and white seabass by spearfishing, market squid by hand-held dip net, and marlin, tunas, and dorado (dolphinfish) by trolling is allowed; commercial take of coastal pelagic species by round haul net and swordfish by harpoon is allowed.

References

  1. California Department of Fish and Game. "Online Guide to California’s Central Coast Marine Protected Areas Archived January 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine ". Retrieved on December 18, 2008
  2. California Department of Fish and Game. "Online Guide to California’s Central Coast Marine Protected Areas Archived January 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine ". Retrieved on December 18, 2008
  3. California Department of Fish and Game. "Central Coast Marine Protected Areas". Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  4. California Department of Fish and Game. "Central Coast Marine Protected Areas". Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  5. Department of Fish and Game. "Appendix O. Regional MPA Management Plans". Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas (approved February 2008). Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  6. 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.
  7. Castell, Jenn, et al. "How do patterns of abundance and size structure differ between fished and unfished waters in the Channel Islands? Results from SCUBA surveys Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine ". Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) at University of California, Santa Barbara and University of California, Santa Cruz; Channel Islands National Park. Retrieved December 18, 2008.