Off the coast of California, hundreds of miles of ocean has been closed to fishing. Will this radical experiment lead to better catches in the future?

Paul Greenberg (@4fishgreenberg) is the author of the bestselling books, “Four Fish” and “American Catch.” He is also the winner of the 2011 James Beard Award for Writing and Literature, and a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation. He writes this piece for California Sunday magazine (@CalSunday).


“What had drawn me to peek under California’s waves was not a great love of scuba, but something radical that California was trying to do with its ocean. Over the past 15 years the state has upended nearly every aspect of its fisheries management. At the center of that effort is the creation of 124 marine protected areas, covering more than 850 square miles, where fishing is banned or severely curtailed. At a little more than 16 percent of California’s ocean holdings, this represents more protected water than that of any other state in the continental United States. What makes California’s experiment unique as well as controversial is more than its size, though: It’s the “network effect” its proponents think they can achieve. By creating an interconnected stretch of no-fishing and restricted-fishing areas up and down the coast, scientists and conservationists theorize they can weave back together the elements of an ecosystem that two centuries of exploitation has blown apart.”

An exquisitely written, incredibly informative piece. This is a must-read.