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Big Corona beach at Corona del Mar to become protected marine area

December 27, 2011 | 10:34 am

Big Corona state beach to become part of protected marine area
Beachcombers thinking of taking home a shell, rock or other sandy souvenir at the Big Corona area of Corona del Mar State Beach in Orange County might want to think twice.

Starting Jan. 1, it will become a protected marine area as part of changes to the state Fish and Game Marine Life Protection Act.

Currently, the nearby Little Corona beach and its tidepools are part of the Robert E. Badham State Marine Conservation Area, which limits collecting rocks and shells, along with tidepool creatures and wildlife, the Daily Pilot reported.

Poppy Avenue had been the border, but the new act will extend the protected area to all beaches below the east jetty.

The entire area will be renamed and called the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area.

Visitors will be prohibited from removing shells, rocks and sea life. Fishing, diving, swimming, kayaking and other activities will continue to be permitted.

Michelle Claud-Clemente, marine protection and education supervisor for the city of Newport Beach, applauded the changes.

"The spirit of the law is to protect the habitat," she said. "There is life on the rocks. Rocks and shells break down and become sand. Or a shell can be a new house for a hermit crab. If everybody takes a shell, there would be none left."

--Times Community News

Photo: Little Corona beach (pictured) is already a protected marine area; its neighbor, Big Corona beach, will become a protected  area on Jan. 1, and the beaches will be renamed Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times