Did you know that this Saturday, January 17, is Underwater Parks Day? The celebration was created with the purpose of educating people about the importance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

mpa graphicMPAs have emerged as an essential tool in the protection of the world’s ocean from the threats of overfishing, pollution, climate change and destruction of native habitat. Functioning similarly to State Parks, but underwater, MPAs are ecosystems or areas of the ocean that have been set aside to protect or conserve marine life and habitat.

For information about the permitted and prohibited uses of each MPA, boundaries, and educational resources, visit californiampas.org.mpa_centralcoast_350x506

There are 29 MPAs on the Central Coast alone. Natural Bridges and Año Nuevo are two of the most popular local MPAs to visit.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Coast MPAs.

As part of this year’s Underwater Parks Day celebration, we encourage community members to visit a local MPA or attend our Underwater Parks Day cleanup at Capitola Beach from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday.

Johanson & Yau (10)Capitola Beach is not a Marine Protected Area, however, pollution on all Central Coast beaches ends up in the many MPAs bordering the shoreline. As such, keeping our beaches clean is critical to the success of MPAs.

Can’t make it to Capitola? Join the cleanup effort by picking up trash at your favorite beach and support MPAs in the process!

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