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Central Coast Regulations

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations California Saltwater Fishing

Includes part of San Mateo County; Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties, and part of Santa Barbara County

There are numerous areas along the California coast that have regulations more restrictive than the general fishing regulations.

These areas, known as marine protected areas (MPAs) are designated in part to protect, conserve, or enhance marine life. The following table lists all existing MPAs in ocean and estuarine waters that regulate sport fishing, species permitted or prohibited for take, and detailed boundary descriptions. Only regulations that pertain to sport fishing are included here. For further information, please contact the CDFW’s Marine Region in Eureka at (707) 445-6493, Monterey at (831) 649-2870 or Los Alamitos at (562) 342-7100, or email AskMPA@wildlife.ca.gov.

Note: The following regulations are from CCR T-14, Section 632(b). Within each county, the areas are arranged generally from north to south. Special closures and marine managed areas are also included in this table. While technically they do not meet the definition of a marine protected area, their restrictions differ significantly from the surrounding areas, so they are included here for ease of identification by the public. For more information please see the CDFW website at wildlife.ca.gov/MPAs.

Name

Permitted/Prohibited Uses For Recreational Take

Boundary Coordinates

San Mateo County, cont.

Año Nuevo State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and a distance of 200 feet seaward of mean lower low water between the following two points:
37° 10.000’ N. lat. 122° 21.800’ W. long.; and
37° 08.725’ N. lat. 122° 21.000’ W. long.
The area then continues southward bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
37° 08.725’ N. lat. 122° 21.000’ W. long.;
37° 04.700’ N. lat. 122° 21.000’ W. long.;
37° 04.700’ N. lat. 122° 16.062’ W. long.; and
37° 04.742’ N. lat. 122° 16.026’ W. long.

Santa Cruz County

Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions:

1. The recreational take of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) by hand harvest only, market squid, salmon, and, by hook-and-line from shore only, other finfish is allowed.

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line, the three nautical mile offshore boundary and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
37° 04.742’ N. lat. 122° 16.026’ W. long.;
37° 04.700’ N. lat. 122° 16.062’ W. long.;
37° 04.700’ N. lat. 122° 21.000’ W. long.;
37° 03.520’ N. lat. 122° 21.000’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
37° 02.570’ N. lat. 122° 18.963’ W. long.; and
37° 02.570’ N. lat. 122° 13.989’ W. long.
Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and a distance of 200 feet seaward of mean lower low water between the following two points:
36° 57.912’ N. lat. 122° 07.650’ W. long.; and
36° 57.015’ N. lat. 122° 03.504’ W. long.

Monterey County

Elkhorn Slough State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area includes the waters below mean high tide within Elkhorn Slough lying east of longitude 121° 46.400’ W. and south of latitude 36° 50.500’ N.
Elkhorn Slough State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions:

1. The recreational take of finfish by hook-and-line only and clams is allowed. Clams may only be taken on the north shore of the slough in the area adjacent to the Moss Landing State Wildlife Area [sub-section 550(a)].

This area includes the waters below mean high tide within Elkhorn Slough east of the Highway 1 Bridge and west of longitude 121° 46.400’ W.
Moro Cojo Slough State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area includes the waters within Moro Cojo Slough below mean high tide and east of the Highway 1 Bridge and west of the crossing of the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks.
Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions: the… recreational take of pelagic finfish5 [sub-section 632(a)(3)] is allowed. This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 51.000’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.;
36° 51.000’ N. lat. 122° 03.652’ W. long.;
36° 48.000’ N. lat. 122° 02.767’ W. long.;
36° 48.000’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.; and
36° 51.000’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.
Portuguese Ledge State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions: the… recreational take of pelagic finfish5 [sub-section 632(a)(3)] is allowed. This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 43.000’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.;
36° 43.000’ N. lat. 122° 01.294’ W. long.;
36° 41.000’ N. lat. 122° 00.706’ W. long.;
36° 41.000’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.; and
36° 43.000’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.
Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions:

1. The recreational take of finfish by hook-and-line is allowed.

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 36.508’ N. lat. 121° 53.379’ W. long.;
36° 37.250’ N. lat. 121° 53.780’ W. long.; and
36° 37.100’ N. lat. 121° 54.093’ W. long.
Lovers Point- Julia Platt State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line, and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 37.100’ N. lat. 121° 54.093’ W. long.;
36° 37.250’ N. lat. 121° 53.780’ W. long.;
36° 37.380’ N. lat. 121° 53.850’ W. long.;
36° 37.600’ N. lat. 121° 54.750’ W. long.; and
36° 37.600’ N. lat. 121° 54.919’ W. long.
Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions:

1. The recreational take of finfish is allowed.

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 37.600’ N. lat. 121° 54.919’ W. long.;
36° 37.600’ N. lat. 121° 54.750’ W. long.;
36° 38.700’ N. lat. 121° 55.400’ W. long.;
36° 38.900’ N. lat. 121° 56.600’ W. long.;
36° 38.314’ N. lat. 121° 56.292’ W. long.; and
36° 38.226’ N. lat. 121° 56.159’ W. long.
Asilomar State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 38.226’ N. lat. 121° 56.159’ W. long.;
36° 38.314’ N. lat. 121° 56.292’ W. long.;
36° 38.900’ N. lat. 121° 56.600’ W. long.; and
36° 36.554’ N. lat. 121° 57.518’ W. long.
Carmel Pinnacles State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 33.650’ N. lat. 121° 57.600’ W. long.;
36° 33.650’ N. lat. 121° 58.500’ W. long.;
36° 33.100’ N. lat. 121° 58.500’ W. long.;
36° 33.100’ N. lat. 121° 57.600’ W. long.; and
36° 33.650’ N. lat. 121° 57.600’ W. long.
Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions:

1. The recreational take of finfish is allowed.

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 33.663’ N. lat. 121° 57.117’ W. long.;
36° 31.700’ N. lat. 121° 56.300’ W. long.; and
36° 31.700’ N. lat. 121° 55.550’ W. long.
Point Lobos State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. Within the portion of the Point Lobos State Marine Reserve which also falls within the boundary of the Point Lobos State Reserve (State Park Unit), restrictions on boating and diving activities exist. Contact the California Department of Parks and Recreation for current restrictions. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 31.700’ N. lat. 121° 55.550’ W. long.;
36° 31.700’ N. lat. 121° 58.250’ W. long.;
36° 28.880’ N. lat. 121° 58.250’ W. long.; and
36° 28.880’ N. lat. 121° 56.285’ W. long.
Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions:

1. The recreational take of salmon and albacore is allowed.

This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
36° 31.700’ N. lat. 121° 58.250’ W. long.;
36° 31.700’ N. lat. 122° 01.267’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
36° 28.880’ N. lat. 122° 00.490’ W. long.;
36° 28.880’ N. lat. 121° 58.250’ W. long.; and
36° 31.700’ N. lat. 121° 58.250’ W. long.
Point Sur State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
36° 18.400’ N. lat. 121° 54.150’ W. long.;
36° 18.400’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.;
36° 15.000’ N. lat. 121° 52.500’ W. long.; and
36° 15.000’ N. lat. 121° 50.250’ W. long.
Point Sur State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions: the …recreational take of salmon and albacore is allowed. This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
36° 18.400’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.;
36° 18.400’ N. lat. 121° 57.932’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
36° 15.000’ N. lat. 121° 55.955’ W. long.;
36° 15.000’ N. lat. 121° 52.500’ W. long.; and
36° 18.400’ N. lat. 121° 56.000’ W. long.
Big Creek State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. Except as pursuant to Federal law or emergency caused by hazardous weather, it is unlawful to anchor or moor a vessel in waters shallower than 10 fathoms in the Big Creek State Marine Reserve. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line, and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
36° 07.200’ N. lat. 121° 37.968’ W. long.;
36° 07.200’ N. lat. 121° 39.000’ W. long.;
36° 05.200’ N. lat. 121° 38.000’ W. long.;
36° 05.200’ N. lat. 121° 41.222’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
36° 02.650’ N. lat. 121° 39.654’ W. long.; and
36° 02.650’ N. lat. 121° 35.130’ W. long.
Big Creek State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions:

1. The recreational take of salmon and albacore is allowed.

This area is bounded by the three nautical mile offshore boundary and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
36° 07.200’ N. lat. 121° 39.000’ W. long.;
36° 07.200’ N. lat. 121° 42.869’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
36° 05.200’ N. lat. 121° 41.222’ W. long.;
36° 05.200’ N. lat. 121° 38.000’ W. long.; and
36° 07.200’ N. lat. 121° 39.000’ W. long.

San Luis Obispo County

Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
35° 42.850’ N. lat. 121° 18.950’ W. long.;
35° 42.850’ N. lat. 121° 21.000’ W. long.;
35° 39.150’ N. lat. 121° 18.500’ W. long.; and
35° 39.150’ N. lat. 121° 14.519’ W. long.
Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions: the… recreational take of salmon and albacore is allowed. This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
35° 42.850’ N. lat. 121° 21.00’ W. long.;
35° 42.850’ N. lat. 121° 22.763’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
35° 39.150’ N. lat. 121° 20.913’ W. long.;
35° 39.150’ N. lat. 121° 18.500’ W. long.; and
35° 42.850’ N. lat. 121° 21.000’ W. long.
Cambria State Marine Conservation Area/State Marine Park It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions: recreational take is allowed. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
35° 37.100’ N. lat. 121° 09.225’ W. long.;
35° 37.100’ N. lat. 121° 10.700’ W. long.;
35° 32.850’ N. lat. 121° 06.700’ W. long.; and
35° 32.850’ N. lat. 121° 05.855’ W. long.
White Rock State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
35° 32.850’ N. lat. 121° 05.855’ W. long.;
35° 32.850’ N. lat. 121° 06.700’ W. long.;
35° 30.500’ N. lat. 121° 05.000’ W. long.; and
35° 30.500’ N. lat. 121° 03.423’ W. long.
Morro Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area3 Recreational hunting of waterfowl is allowed unless otherwise restricted by hunting regulations [sections 502, 550, 551, and 552].

It is unlawful to perform any activity that would compromise the recreational values for which the area may be designated. Recreational opportunities may be protected, enhanced, or restricted, while preserving basic resource values of the area, with the following specified exceptions allowed north of latitude 35° 19.700’ N:

1. The recreational take of finfish.

…3. Storing finfish taken outside the Morro Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area in a receiver for bait purposes.

This area includes the area below mean high tide within Morro Bay east of the Morro Bay entrance breakwater and west of longitude 120° 50.340’ W.
Morro Bay State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area includes the area below mean high tide line within Morro Bay east of longitude 120° 50.340’ W.
Point Buchon State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
35° 15.250’ N. lat. 120° 53.817’ W. long.;
35° 15.250’ N. lat. 120° 56.000’ W. long.;
35° 11.000’ N. lat. 120° 52.400’ W. long.; and
35° 13.348’ N. lat. 120° 52.400’ W. long.
Point Buchon State Marine Conservation Area It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource for… recreational purposes, with the following specified exceptions: the… recreational take of salmon and albacore is allowed. This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
35° 15.250 N. lat. 120° 56.000’ W. long.;
35° 15.250’ N. lat. 120° 57.878’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
35° 11.000’ N. lat. 120° 55.149’ W. long.;
35° 11.000 ’N. lat. 120° 52.400’ W. long.; and
35° 15.250’ N. lat. 120° 56.000’ W. long.

Santa Barbara County

Vandenberg State Marine Reserve It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource. Public entry into the Vandenberg State Marine Reserve may be restricted at the discretion of the department to protect wildlife, aquatic life, or habitat, or by the Commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base to protect and provide safety for base operations. This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
34° 44.650’ N. lat. 120° 37.750’ W. long.;
34° 44.650’ N. lat. 120° 40.000’ W. long.;
34° 33.250’ N. lat. 120° 40.000’ W. long.; and
34° 33.250’ N. lat. 120° 37.407’ W. long.