Marine Protected Areas

South Coast MPAs
Photo Credit: Bob Wohlers

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are discreet geographic marine or estuarine areas designed to protect or conserve marine life and habitat. There are three types of MPAs recognized in California: state marine reserve (SMR), state marine park (SMP) and state marine conservation area (SMCA). California is currently in the process of reevaluating and redesigning its MPAs. USC Sea Grant provides leadership and leverages resources to bring to the discussion the best readily available science to redesign marine protected areas in Southern California, incorporating the advice and assistance of scientists, resource managers, experts, stakeholders and members of the public.


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(213) 740-1961
National Focus Area
Healthy Coastal Ecosystems