Glossary of Key Terms

Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA)
Enacted in 1999, this California state law requires the state to review and improve the protection it gives marine wildlife and habitats.

Marine Protected Area (MPA)
This is a general term including areas that offer all levels of protection, from sites that just manage water quality to areas that are fully protected from human disturbance. MPAs have been created all over the U.S. and all over the world to help replenish ocean areas. Some examples include the Florida Keys, New Zealand, Italy, and Australia?s Great Barrier Reef National Park.

State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)
This type of Marine Protected Area, or MPA, allows some commercial and/or recreational fishing. Examples include areas where both sport and commercial fishermen can fish from shore, but not by boat in deeper waters, or areas where only certain species may be taken by either sport or commercial fishermen.

State Marine Park (SMP)
In California, this term refers to areas where only sportfishing is allowed and commercial activity is prohibited. The amount of sportfishing may be limited in a marine park, such as a site that allows only shore fishing or catch and release fishing.

State Marine Reserve (SMR)
These are the most protective of all California MPAs, prohibiting the removal or destruction of any wildlife or habitat within their borders. Marine reserves are the "look, pass through, but don't touch or take anything"marine protected areas.

National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS)
These are areas created by Congress under the 1972 National Marine Sanctuaries Act. There are thirteen Sanctuaries around the country, four of which are in California: Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Cordell Bank and the Gulf of the Farallons. Despite their protective name, most Sanctuaries offer little real protection for the wildlife and habitats inside them beyond prohibiting oil exploration.

Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF)
The Blue Ribbon Task Force is a panel of policy advisors appointed by California?s Secretary of Resources to oversee implementation of the MLPA Initiative. The bipartisan Blue Ribbon Task Force, composed of eight public leaders, is charged with advising the state on a policy framework to guide implementation of the MLPA, providing recommendations on long-term funding, and making specific recommendations for a network of MPAs along the California coast.

Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG)
The regional stakeholder group is made up of local community members who represent a broad cross-section of interest groups, from fishermen and divers to conservationists and local business owners. Members of the regional stakeholder group volunteer many hours of their time to help design MPA alternative proposals and provide valuable input to California Fish & Game Commissioners and the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

Science Advisory Team (SAT)
The Science Advisory Team provides guidance to the California Fish & Game Commission on MPA design and evaluates MPA network proposals for consistency with both scientific guidelines and potential socioeconomic impacts. The scientific advisory team includes representation from state agencies, universities and research centers with expertise in biological and social sciences.

Source: California Department of Fish & Game, MLPA Initiative, Ocean Conservancy