Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Tribal Co-Managed Marine Protected Areas  

Through the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, Wishtoyo advocated to best ensure a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were established that protect the ecological integrity and fisheries of the Southern California Bight (SCB). A significant part of this effort was integrating tribal values and stewardship into the MPA designation process. 


The solution within Chumash traditional territory: designating MPAs with tribal co-management components to best ensure that Southern California’s marine ecosystems and fisheries are protected and restored, while preserving and learning from the Chumash culture that understands how to live sustainably with our coastal resources. 

Wishtoyo extensively participated and provided input in the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative to help establish ecologically and culturally protective Marine Protected Areas through:

  • Hosting of SCRSG members, MLPA Initiative Staff, and representatives from the California Department of Fish and Game at Wishtoyo’s Chumash Village for a Chumash co-management presentation
  • Organizing South Coast tribes
  • Working with the Stakeholder Groups, Blue Ribbon Task Force, Department of Fish and Game, and the Fish and Game Commission
  • Advocating via Oral Testimony During Public Hearings and Stakeholder Workshops
  • Submission of Written Comments

The foundation for Wishtoyo and its Ventura Coastkeeper program's advocacy for MPAs with tribal co-management components was and continues to be Wishtoyo Foundation’s White Paper: Tribal Marine Protected Areas: Protecting Maritime Ways and Cultural Practices (please click to view).

In the South Coast MLPA process, our efforts, including the introduction and development of tribal co-management, helped result in: 

  • The establishment of ecologically protective South Coast Marine Protected Areas (“MPAs”) to preserve the marine resources all cultures depend upon
  • Recommendations for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife to enter into MPA Tribal Co-Management Agreements with Tribes for the provision of MPA marine conservation public education/outreach programs and assistance with MPA implementation, pollution prevention, and enforcement
  • Provision of measures to best ensure MPAs allow for tribal cultural / religious practices and preservation.

Wishtoyo continues to work on MLPA amendments to provide California Tribes full access to MPAs for cultural utilization, and delivers Chumash Tribal Marine Protected Area (CTMPA) education programs at Wishtoyo's Chumash Village overlooking the Malibu and Channel Islands MPAs at Nicholas Canyon County Beach. 

Chumash Tribal Marine Protected Area(CTMPA) Education Programs

In 2012, Wishtoyo launched its Chumash Tribal Marine Protected Area (“CTMA”) ocean conservation education program and taught the social importance of a healthy ocean environment to 1,959 K-12 school children from Ventura, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara counties during 29 Programs at the Village and schools. At least 78% of the programs were delivered to K-12 student audiences from Latino, Chumash, and politically/economically marginalized communities.

The scientific, policy, and regulatory content of the Chumash MPA programs were developed with Wishtoyo’s MPA education program partners: the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and California State Parks Channel Coast District. The Programs also incorporate Chumash maritime art, traditions, culture, songs, dance, history, and stewardship. 

Our CTMPA education programs have been a phenomenal sucess, instilling a marine conservation ethic in thousands of youth and educating participants about marine conservation and the importance of Marine Protected Areas! The numbers of students participating in this program has grown more than 50% in the past two years. In 2015, we served over 6,000 students over the course of 112 programs with ~73% of youth coming from Title I schools and/or politically and economically marginalized communities. 

Please visit our Education Page to learn more about our CTMPA Program and how your community or school can participate.




Wishtoyo's Chumash Marine Protected Map and Educational DVD