California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas

The Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas (Master Plan) is a document designed to guide the adoption and implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs). As required by the Marine Life Protection Act, CDFW  prepared and presented the Master Plan to the California Fish and Game Commission. Among other topics, the Master Plan provides guidance on the following:

  • Context for implementing the MLPA goals and objectives
  • Background information on California's marine resources and policies
  • A description of the process for designing alternative MPA proposals
  • Overviews on the design, management, enforcement, monitoring, and funding of California's MPAs

After extensive public comments, the MLPA Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas was approved as a living document by the Fish and Game Commission in February 2008. As a living document, regional updates were made to the Master Plan after the MLPA process was completed for each study region. Regional updates are located in the Master Plan appendices and provide more extensive information about newly adopted MPAs, regional management plans, lessons learned, scientific methodologies for monitoring and evaluation, and more.


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  • Revised Draft Master Plan - January 2008
  • Revised Draft Master Plan Appendices - January 2008
    • Appendix A: The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA)
    • Appendix B: The Marine Managed Areas Improvement Act (MMAIA)
    • Appendix C: Implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act: 1999-2004
    • Appendix D: Strategy for Stakeholder and Interested Public Participation
    • Appendix E: Social Science Tools and Methods
    • Appendix F: Outline of Information Required for MPA Proposals
    • Appendix G: Master List of Species Likely to Benefit from MPAs
    • Appendix H: Summary of Recent and Ongoing Processes Related to the MLPA Initiative
    • Appendix I: List of Existing State MPAs
    • Appendix J: Defined Terms
    • Appendix K: Lessons Learned Reports from the Central Coast Regional Process
    • Appendix L: Estimated Long-Term Costs to Implement the California MLPA
    • Appendix M: Consultant's Adaptive Management and Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
    • Appendix N: Task Force Memos and Consultants' Report on Options for Funding the MLPA
    • Appendix O: Regional MPA Management Plans
    • Appendix P: Alternative Recommendations for MPAs Considered in Each Study Region
    • Appendix Q: Memorandums of Understanding for the MLPA Initiative
    • Appendix R: Science Methodology for Study Regions