Marine Reserves

The Channel Islands Marine Reserve Network protects critical habitat and species like this lingcod. Photo Credit: Robert Schwemmer

The network of marine reserves and marine conservation areas within Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary were created in partnership between NOAA and the state of California. These zones encompass approximately 20% or 241 square nautical miles (318 square miles) of the sanctuary, and are designed to:

  • Protect and restore habitats and ecosystems.
  • Provide a refuge for all sea life.
  • Provide reference areas for research and educational opportunities.
  • Protect our nation's marine natural heritage for future generations.

Managing, monitoring and enforcing the network of marine reserves and conservation areas is a collaborative effort requiring close coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Channel Islands National Park, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Sanctuary Advisory Council, the University of California and other academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations.

map of channel islands highlighting protected areas
Map showing the marine protected area network around six of the Channel Islands and along the mainland coast from Point Conception to Point Mugu.