The Marine Life Protection Act Initiative helped guide a planning process to design a network of marine protected areas along the California coast. On January 1, 2012 the South Coast marine protected area regulations went into effect. The current management phase includes short and long term monitoring, the results of which will be used for adaptive management. Many South Coast fishers have expressed feeling disenfranchised by the marine protected area planning process and results, displaying a lack of trust for science, scientists, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the legacy of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative as management of the new network proceeds. By collecting the opinions of the recreational fishing community through informal interviews and formal surveys, we determined a list of present barriers to communication with and among this sub-group, as well as this sub-group’s core concerns regarding marine protected area management. Existing messages from both the South Coast recreational fishing community’s least trusted information source (environmental NGOs) and most trusted information source (recreational fishing associations) were reviewed. Barriers were identified to better address core concerns in a constructive, forward-looking way as Marine Life Protection Act implementation continues.