855. Asilomar State Marine Reserve

"The Asilomar State Marine Reserve resides inside one of our nation’s largest National Marine Sanctuaries. The Monterey Bay National Marine sanctuary extends North of San Francisco bay and South to Cambria. Over 6,000 square miles of federally protected marine sanctuary promotes environmental protection, stewardship and ocean research. Inside this large sanctuary lies the state regulated California Network of Marine Protected Areas or ‘MPAs’. MPAs are geographically designated ocean areas that are set aside primarily to protect or conserve marine life and its associated habitat. MPAs work by having varying levels of protection, specifically regulating human “take”. There are four types of MPAs, and here in Monterey County we have two. The “blue” zones, or ‘State Marine Conservation Areas’ where recreational and/or commercial take of expressly specified species is allowed; and the “red” zones or ‘State Marine Reserves’ where there is no take allowed at all. This includes living and non-living things, such as rocks, shells, dead plants, animals and algae- all must be left where they are. MPAs are special because they protect whole ecosystems by habitat, providing general protection not only for species that are threatened or endangered, but for their food sources, shelter and other vital necessities as well. Asilomar State Marine Reserve is a “red” zone where no take is allowed. It extends from Point Joe (Pebble Beach) on the Southern border all the way to Point Pinos (Pacific Grove) as the Northern border, and to just about one mile offshore. This protection allows the ecosystems to thrive here at Asilomar State Beach, from the sandy shore where birds feed and nest, to the rocky intertidal where crabs, anemones and sea stars hunt and thrive.”