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Researchers take to skies to survey marine protected areas

MPA Plane Ride

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Research by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and others reveals that while fishing pressure has shifted location, the number and sot of places people seek a fishery hasn't shifted much.

MPA Plane Ride

Molly Peterson/KPCC

The state created a network of marine protected areas to help habitat and fisheries recuperate from years of stress, including that caused by people.

MPA Plane Ride

Molly Peterson/KPCC

The mouth of the San Gabriel river to the north, with Seal Beach below.

MPA Plane Ride

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Point Fermin, with the Korean Friendship Bell on the upper right of the peninsula in this view.

MPA Plane Ride

Molly Peterson/KPCC

In the foreground, Terranea Resort.

MPA Plane Ride

Molly Peterson/KPCC

White Point.


Faced with dwindling fish stocks and degraded habitat, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife created dozens of marine protected areas off Southern California two years ago. With these closures, state officials want people to stay out of about 15 percent of the region’s coastal waters in an effort to make the ocean healthier.

Emerging science suggests new insights about how commercial and recreational fishermen are responding to the change.

Marine protected areas, scattered like scrabble tiles on the sea between Santa Barbara and Mexico take up more than 350 square miles. The easiest way to see that territory fast is from the sky.

KPCC's Molly Peterson reports


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