Calif approves new marine protected areas off north coast, finishing statewide network

California created another group of ocean protection zones on Wednesday, putting the finishing touches on a vast network of protected areas that dot the sea from Mexico to the Oregon border.

The Fish & Game Commission voted unanimously to approve the new zones off the state’s far north coast from Point Arena in Mendocino County to the Oregon border, where fishing is restricted or banned outright in areas.

“We are poised to return California’s marine resources to the sustainable abundance we all once enjoyed,” said Richard Rogers, a commission member from Santa Barbara, choking up as he cast his vote after more than seven years of work on the project.

The vote was an outgrowth of the 1999 Marine Life Protection Act, which called for a system of marine protected areas along the coast based on scientific study and years of public input.