Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are sites given long-term
protection to protect and enhance some or all of the
resources at the site and/or to facilitate some uses
of the area. MPAs can serve a variety of purposes
Research and Education Areas
Protection of Unique or Sensitive Populations
Fish Production and Fishery Management
Protection of Habitats of Special Importance
Non-Consumptive Use Recreational Areas
A variety of fish and wildlife resources can benefit
from establishment of MPAs. Some fish resources require
major reductions in harvest pressure and protection
from removal as by-catch to establish productive populations
of adults. Establishing such areas may be important
tools to recover from past over-harvest or prevent
future overharvest (e.g., rockfish in Puget Sound).
MPAs can also provide areas for non-consumptive use
of the resources, allow collection of baseline data
on resources at the site, provide reference areas,
and protect unique, sensitive, or important habitats
and populations. They can facilitate integrated management
of all resources within important habitats or areas.
General Policy: The Director of the
Department of Fish and Wildlife will use marine protected
areas as one of the agency's working tools for resource
protection and management. The Director will be responsible
for plan development and implementation to manage
consumptive and/or non-consumptive uses.
The management objectives for the use of marine
protected areas are:
Preserve, protect, perpetuate and manage the living
resources of the state.
Provide refuges for stocks, substocks, or populations.
Protect unique or important habitats or species.
Foster stewardship of unique or important resources
Provide research and education areas.
Provide baseline areas or reference sites.
Provide non-consumptive recreational opportunities.
All sites will not meet all objectives by many sites
will meet multiple objectives.
The following management principles will be used:
Designed MPAs are needed in Puget Sound to protect
a variety of species, to promote the recovery of
some over-harvested species and to protect important
To the extent possible, MPAs will be established
based on scientific principles and available data.
MPAs will not be delayed until all potential questions
are answered since recovery of some depressed or
declining resources will rely on the timely establishment
of sites. The agency will rely on existing information
to determine resources of concern and begin selection
Regulations adopted will be as simple as possible
at individual sites and throughout the network.
Within the constraints of the above principles
and objectives, uses compatible within the type
of site and resource needs will be permitted.
Opportunities will made available for public involvement
by consumptive and non-consumptive users during
development of the network of areas and site selection.
The agency will use adaptive management, including
good neighbor practices, to modify the sites and
the network as data is collected.