Lovers Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.
Lovers Point SMR is located off the coast of the Monterey Peninsula, at the southern end of Monterey Bay. It covers an area of.30 sq. miles. The reserve is directly offshore from Lovers Point Park, a small local park.
The Monterey Peninsula includes extensive tidepools brimming with life. Its sandy beaches are used by pupping harbor seals, and dense kelp beds offshore provide shelter for sea otters. The Lovers Point SMR provides habitat for a variety of marine life, and includes kelp forest, beach, rocky intertidal, soft and hard bottom.
The natural beauty and ocean resources of the Monterey Peninsula draw millions of visitors from around the world each year, including more than 65,000 scuba divers drawn by the area’s easy access, variety of wildlife, and massive kelp forests.
In addition to diving and visiting the aquarium, people enjoy the Monterey Bay by kayaking, whale watching, charter fishing, surfing, bird watching, tidepooling and walking on the beach.
California’s marine protected areas encourage recreational and educational uses of the ocean. Activities such as kayaking, diving, snorkeling, and swimming are allowed unless otherwise restricted.
As specified by the Marine Life Protection Act, select marine protected areas along California’s central coast are being monitored by scientists to track their effectiveness and learn more about ocean health. Similar studies in marine protected areas located off of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands have already detected gradual improvements in fish size and number.
Local scientific and educational institutions involved in the monitoring include Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, University of California Santa Cruz, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Research methods include hook-and-line sampling, intertidal and scuba diver surveys, and the use of Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) submarines.