Signs warning beach goers of fishing restrictions in Marine Protected Areas along Malibu's shores were installed Thursday, just one of many steps in an ongoing public information campaign.
"I think it indicates that we are really moving forward and we are making our best efforts to make sure that everybody not only knows about the MPAs, but there is actually a growing support base for them," Liz Crosson, Executive Director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper.
"As people understand why they were established, what kind of state our fisheries are in, the fact that they are depleted, they are becoming more supportive of the idea that these are here to help these species recover and survive in the future," Crosson said.
The installation of the signs at Paradise Cove, Point Dume and Zuma Beach marked the collaborative work of several agencies over the past year, including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the L.A. Waterkeeper, Heal the Bay and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Southern California MPAs, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, are located in specific sections of the ocean from Santa Barbara's Point Conception to the U.S./Mexico border.
All types of fishing are prohibited in the Malibu ocean from Paradise Cove to Zuma Creek. The area from Zuma Creek to El Matador State Beach has the less-restrictive designation of State Marine Conservation Area, which allows specific types of fishing.
Surveys are underway to measure the effect of the MPAs, including aerial surveys by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation, according to Sarah Sikich, coastal resources director for Heal the Bay.
In Malibu, most violators have been seen hook-and-line fishing from boats, spearfishing and shore fishing, Sikich said.
"There have been a few continuous pockets in Malibu, particularly at Westward Beach, shore fishing, and the stretch between Big Dume and Little Dume we've seen some shore fishing and some spear fishing," Sikich said.
Both Heal the Bay and the L.A. Waterkeeper have been out educating fishermen and other members of the public about the new rules.
"Up here, it's been a year of talking to fishermen and talking to stakeholders in communities. They're starting to open up and talk more," said Michael Quill, a MPA outreach coordinator for L.A. Waterkeeper.
Other tools for education include a waterproof map that includes GPS locations of the MPAs, which are available for fishermen and are quite popular, Quill said.
Quill said he has seen an increase in compliance, especially in L.A. County over the past year.
"I still see violations, people coming on land, and that's why it is so important to get these signs posted where the access points are," Quill said.