Reef Check FAQ

How are living marine resources managed off the coast of California?

The ocean off our coast is split up into two sections and managed by the federal and state governments. The section from the mean high tide line out to 3 miles is managed by the state government through the Fish and Game Commission. The working arm of the Fish and Game Commission is the Department of Fish and Game who gather data and provide recommendations to the Commission which in turn makes the final decisions on all regulations for commercial and recreational fishing as well as on things such as Marine Protected Areas and fully protected species (e.g. black sea bass).  From 3 miles out to the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone the federal government oversees this area. Living resources, including marine mammals, management falls to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries Service commonly known as the National Marine Fisheries Service  (NMFS).