Follow the Good Tidepooler Rules

Marine Protected Area Overview

Featured Videos

A Wave of Change
A 10 minute film highlighting the MLPA designation and the new network of Central Coast MPAs.
Produced by Mountain and Sea Productions
.
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California's Sea Change: A Network of Hope Spots
Sylvia Earle, marine biologist and ocean explorer: highlights California's landmark effort to establish a statewide network of marine protected areas.
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Marine Protected Areas
Courtesy of NOAA
Chances are you've visited a Marine Protected Area and didn't even know it...

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Orange County Marine Protected Areas

Please click on a region below to download additional information (PDF).

Upper Newport Bay SMCA Crystal Cove SMCA Laguna Beach SMR Laguna Beach SMCA - no take Dana Point SMCA bolsa bay SMCA Bolsa Chica Basin

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Orange County MPA Sites and Regulations

OCMPA Location

Allowed Take

Bolsa Bay SMCA** Take is prohibited, EXCEPT: the recreational take of finfish by hook and line from shore is allowed in designated areas only.
Bolsa Chica Basin No-Take SMCA** No take allowed.
Upper Newport Bay SMCA** Take is prohibited, EXCEPT: the recreational take of finfish by hook and line from shore is allowed in designated areas only.
Crystal Cove SMCA Take is prohibited, EXCEPT: the recreational take of finfish by hook and line or by spearfishing is allowed, as well as take of lobster and sea urchin; the commercial take of coastal pelagic species (northern anchovy, jack mackerel, pacific sardine, pacific mackerel, market squid) by round haul net, spiny lobster by trap, and sea urchin is allowed; no take allowed from tidepools.
Laguna Beach SMR No take allowed.
Laguna Beach No-Take SMCA No take allowed.
Dana Point SMCA Take is prohibited, EXCEPT: the recreational take of finfish by hook and line or by spearfishing, and lobster and sea urchin is allowed below the mean lower low tide line only; the commercial take of coastal pelagic species (northern anchovy, jack mackerel, pacific sardine, pacific mackerel, market squid) by round haul net, spiny lobster and sea urchin is allowed; no take allowed from tidepools.
Definition- Coastal Pelagic Species northern anchovy, jack mackerel, pacific sardine, pacific mackerel, market squid

*Other regulations may apply. For detailed maps, coordinates, and regulations, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa.
**Swimming, boating, wading, and diving are prohibited in part or all of this area. Visit www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa for more information.


Recreational Use

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing is allowed in the Crystal Cove and Dana Point State Marine Conservation Areas. No fishing is allowed in the Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve and Laguna Beach No-Take State Marine Conservation Area. The no take area is located between Abalone Point south of El Moro in Crystal Cove and Seacliff Drive south of Table Rock Beach in South Laguna. (See MPA Sites and Regulations). The recreational take of Finfish by spear or hook and line is allowed. Nothing from the tidepools can be taken or disturbed, including using mussels for bait. Overall bag limit of 20 fish. Spiny lobster and urchin may be taken recreationally by hand. For general current Fish and Game regulations go to: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/fishing.asp

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Off Shore Fishing

Offshore fishing is allowed in the Crystal Cove and Dana Point State Marine Conservation Areas. Please be aware of the triangular no fishing zone that extends out from Seacliff Drive in South Laguna and down from Abalone Point at the border of Laguna Beach and El Moro. The recreational take of finfish by hook and line, spiny lobster by hand and hoop net, and urchin by hand, is allowed. Overall bag limit of 20 fish. For general current Fish and Game regulations go to: www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/fishing.asp

Common Fin Fish Regulations

(All CCR Title 14)

20 fin fish in any combo & 10 any one species

Lobster - Limit 7, 3.25 inches. From the Saturday preceding the first Wednesday
in Oct. through the first Wednesday after the 15th of March.
Sharks - blue 2, thresher 2, shortfin mako 2, soupfin 1, sixgill 1, sevengill 1
Garibaldi - No take or possession
Ca. Halibut - Limit 5, Size limit 22inches
Ca. Sheephead - Size limit 12 inches
Cabezon - Limit 1, Size limit 15 inches
Kelp Bass, Barred & Spotted Sand Bass - Size limit 12 inches, Limit 10 in combination
Surf Perch - Limit 10 in any combination
Lingcod - Limit 2, Size limit 24 inches
Ca. Barracuda - Size limit 28 inches
Leopard Shark - Limit 3, Size limit 36 inches
White Sea Bass - Size 28inches, Limit 3 or 1 from 3/15-6/15
Yellowtail - Limit 10, Size limit 24 inches fork, 5 less than 24 inches
Sculpin (Ca. Scorpionfish) - Limit 5, Size limit 10 inches

No limits

albacore, anchovy, bluefin tuna, grunion, jacksmelt, topsmelt, petrale sole, Pacific butterfish, queenfish, sanddabs, skipjack, jack & Pacific mackeral, Pacific staghorn sculpin, starry flounder, round & Pacific herring, Pacific sardine

No using mussels for fishing. No spearing lobster.


Click Here to View Pictures of Fish (PDF - 508KB) >

Diving

Orange County boasts some of the best diving in the world. Enjoy but make sure you employ safe diving practices and leave the habitat as you found it. If you are spearfishing, make sure your fishing license is within 500 yards of you at all times. If possible, keep it with you or leave it on the beach.

Tidepooling

Please follow good tidepooler rules.
Orange County has great opportunities for divers but if you prefer not to get wet, the tidepools along the rocky coasts of the county leave little to be desired. Time your visit to the tidepools during low tide in order to see the most marine life but please remember that all tidepools in Orange County are protected. Follow the good tidepooler rules: never remove animals, shells, or rocks; never pick up animals; walk gently; and never turn over rocks. Help make sure that these organisms will still be here for many more generations.
What will you see?

Weddings/Photography

If you are planning a wedding or a professional photographer, you may need to obtain a permit prior to entering the beach/tidepool area. Please call each city's Department of Parks and Recreation prior to your activity.

Southern California State and Federal Marine Protected Areas

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This chart does not replace the legal description found in Title 14, California Code of Regulations.