Thirty-six underwater parks opened over the New Year's weekend. The protected areas are part of a management plan mandated by the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999. Kaitlin Gaffney from the non-profit Ocean Conservancy says the La Jolla Reef in San Diego County is one of her favorite new preserves.
GAFFNEY: "It's been described as the Serengeti of the California coast. There are tons of fish. There is the Garibaldi, the state fish, it looks like a giant goldfish, there's lobster. Some of these areas are just teeming with life and the idea is to protect them and to make sure they continue to be forever."
The parks have preservation measures attached to them like fishing bans. The areas which opened over the weekend are in southern California. Next year will see a new phase of under-water -protected-preserves opening in northern California.