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Marine Protected Areas around the Northern Channel Islands
The MPAs around the Northern Channel Islands are managed collaboratively by the State of California and two federal agencies.
Photo: Robert Schwemmer

The Northern Channel Island MPAs, located off the coast of Southern California in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, protect a variety of marine ecosystems such as rocky intertidal communities, sea grass beds, giant kelp forests and deep sea coral gardens. The Northern Channel Islands MPAs include 11 state and federal no-extraction Marine Reserves and 2 no-extraction Special Closure Areas. Over 5,000 species of invertebrates, mammals like seals and sea lions, large open-water fish and seabirds reside there. The Channel Island MPAs protect a handful of endangered species such as blue whales, orcas and fur seals. The abundance of marine species in the region is largely due to high productivity driven by upwelling and its location between warm and cold water bioregions.

The MPAs around the Northern Channel Island are managed by three entities: the Channel Islands National Park, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. All three work together to create regulations and facilitate enforcement. The agencies also engage the ancestors of the indigenous coastal people, the Chumash, as well as other local community members. The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and National Park were designated in 1980. The portions of the area within California state waters were designated in 2003. The Reserves and Conservation Areas were then adopted by NOAA and expanded into federal waters in 2006 and 2007.

More Information

Blue Park Facts
  • Award
  • Platinum
  • Award Year
  • 2019
  • Management
  • Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (NOAA; CINMS), Channel Islands National Park (CINP) and California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW)
  • Size
  • 3804 km²
  • Other Awards and Designations
Photo: Robert Schwemmer
Photo: Robert Schwemmer