Dec 19, 2012 12:14 PM by Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's 848-square-mile marine reserve, the largest network of undersea sanctuaries in the continental United States, is now complete.
The marine reserve stretching from the Oregon state line to the Mexico border encompasses 16 percent of state waters. Nine percent is off-limits to fishing.
State Fish and Game Commissioner Michael Sutton says the 1999 Marine Life Protection Act directed the agency to establish a statewide network of protected waters.
Modeled after strategies used on land, it sets up parks and refuges to conserve wildlife.
The Los Angeles Times says the network's final segment on the north coast is officially completed on Wednesday.
The 137-square-mile protected zone is part of a deal reached among Native American tribes, conservation groups and fishermen to preserve tribal traditions while protecting marine life.
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