Protected Ocean Areas

Millions of people a year visit San Diego’s beaches. Residents and tourists alike flock to our coastline to play in the sand, surf the waves, swim the in the coves, fish off the piers and dive the fertile kelp forests, which stand tall like underwater Redwoods and provide food and shelter for hundreds of species from tiny invertebrates to fish, mammals and birds.

There is so much to love. But San Diego’s ocean health is fragile.

San Diego’s ocean ecosystem is unique in its staggering biodiversity and wide array of habitats. However, these resources are highly susceptible to human-generated impacts such as unsustainable fishing, pollution overuse and the effects of climate change.

garibaldi-with-starfish-sSan Diego Coastkeeper safeguards our local beach and tourism-based economy by supporting a variety of protected ocean spaces, such as our “undersea Yosemites” – or Marine Protected Areas – as safe havens for marine life, as well as their water-quality-protecting cousins, Areas of Special Biological Significance. A strong marine protected area plan provides economic and ecological benefits for San Diego’s tourism, diving, boating, whale watching and fishing industries and will allow sensitive sea life and habitats to recover and thrive.

San Diego Coastkeeper works to support and raise awareness for our also includes two Areas of Special Biological Significance located in La Jolla. Part of a statewide network of biologically diverse sections of California’s coast, these ocean parks require preservation of water quality protection from pollution including discharge of wastewater, litter and stormwater runoff. Read more about Areas of Special Biological Significance.

You can help protect San Diego’s ocean. Ensure leopard sharks, rays, shovelnose guitarfish and brilliant orange garibaldis continue to dart through kelp and surf grass by donating to and becoming a member of San Diego Coastkeeper. Sign up for our electronic newsletter to receive updates on our protected oceans work.