CalOceans News

Showing all articles published in January 2012.


Jan. 21 is Underwater Parks Day!

January 13th, 2012

Mark your calendars: Saturday, January 21 is the fourth annual Underwater Parks Day. It’s a time to celebrate California’s other state parks…the ones in the ocean! 

There is a lot to celebrate in Southern California, where a new network of underwater parks, or “marine protected areas,” was created on January 1 to protect coastal jewels like south La Jolla, Laguna, Point Dume, and Naples Reef. South coast aquaria will have interactive exhibits, videos, speakers, and tidepool tours to introduce local residents to the sea creatures these undersea refuges are designed to shelter.  Click here to find an event near you.

If you prefer to celebrate outside, consider joining Santa Barbara Channelkeeper for a kayak tour of Campus Point, or a Goleta River clean-up.  Or help Heal the Bay clean up Westward Beach before
enjoying a guided nature walk of Point Dume.

If you live in Orange County, and consider yourself a sharpshooter, why not enter Laguna Bluebelt’s photo contest .  From Crystal Cove to Dana Point, the Orange County coastline has several
underwater parks
that offer stunning vistas and thriving sea life.

If you’re in Northern California, please considering joining Half Moon Bay Surf Club, Surfrider Foundation and Ocean Conservancy to celebrate Underwater Parks Day with a beach cleanup at Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay

Lastly, if you want to learn more about the new underwater park at the mouth of the Tijuana River, come on out February 4 to take a guided nature walk and hear special guest speaker Dr. Octavio Aburto from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography talk about the aquarium of the world, Baja’s Cabo Pulmo. The Cabo Pulmo marine protected area boosted fish numbers by a record-breaking 463% over 10 years.

We look forward to seeing California’s sea life flourish like Baja’s, thanks to the system of marine protected areas our state is creating through the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA)!


Underwater parks heralded in press

January 5th, 2012

The New Year brought new protections for some of southern California’s most iconic coastal areas, including La Jolla, Laguna, Santa Monica Bay, and Catalina Island. On January 1, the state celebrated the grand opening of a string of underwater parks that stretches from Point Conception to the border with Mexico.

These “marine protected areas” form the southern section of the statewide network called for under California’s landmark Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). The network will be complete once planning is finished for the far north coast region, later this year.

Stanford biologist Larry Crowder explained the importance of this network approach on KPCC public radio: “California made a really innovative step here, to link marine protected areas in a network... this helps fish and other marine life feed and breed…a single protected area doesn’t achieve what a network of linked protected areas would do.”

Dozens of scientific studies have shown that marine protected areas boost fisheries health and resilience, which is good news for California fishermen, since 2011 saw the collapse of kelp and barred sand bass and depleted halibut populations that led Marina del Rey anglers to open their famous halibut derby to other species.

The news about California’s new underwater parks was heralded in press all over the state, including Capital Public Radio, Coastline Pilot, Laguna Beach Independent, Malibu Daily Breeze, and Ventura County Star, which quoted Ocean Conservancy’s Greg Helms:

"By protecting hot spots like South La Jolla, Point Dume and Laguna, we are charting a course towards greater sustainability, and that means better fishing, diving, kayaking, tidepooling and birding for our children.”

Southern California residents were overwhelmingly supportive of the protections during the two-year public planning process. According to the Los Angeles Times many are already involved in citizen science and monitoring programs to help ensure their success.  As the San
Diego Tribune notes
, fishermen and university scientists are working with volunteer groups like Reef Check on a baseline study that will help inform future management discussions.