California’s Marine Protected Areas: Underwater Refuges Safeguard Our Unique Ocean Life

California’s Marine Life Protection Act created a network of underwater refuges that spans the length of our coast. Today, 124 marine protected areas safeguard roughly 16 percent of California’s state waters, sheltering valuable species and habitats and bolstering marine biodiversity and resilience. California’s network of marine protected areas is hailed as a global model. However, ongoing investments in research and monitoring, outreach and education, policy and permitting, and, importantly, enforcement are required to ensure that these underwater refuges will benefit our environment, coastal communities, and economy for generations to come.

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Ocean Wildlife

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