Because of its immensity, the ocean is considered by some an infinite resource. But recent findings show that it is anything but that. The stocks of fish are finite, and they are being extracted at an alarming rate to feed humans.
In 1960, 750 acres of near offshore land were added to the approximately 550 acres onshore, creating the nation’s first underwater reserve. In 2007, the State of California created a network of Marine Protected Areas along the coast, and two of those areas are contiguous to Point Lobos.
Like state and national parks protect wildlife and habitats on land, marine protected areas (MPAs) conserve and restore wildlife and habitats in our ocean. Many visitors to Point Lobos don’t realize that some of the most beautiful landscapes within the Reserve are found underwater. While the Reserve hosts 550 fully protected land acres, its protected underwater area is over eighteen times that size, at 9,907 acres.
These underwater parks contribute to healthier, more resilient ocean ecosystems that can better withstand impacts such as pollution and climate change. By protecting entire ecosystems rather than focusing on a single species, MPAs are powerful tools for conserving and restoring ocean biodiversity, and protecting cultural resources, while allowing certain activities such as marine recreation and research.