NOAA expands Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries off northern California

NOAA expands Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries off northern California

Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries off northern California will both more than double in size following a final rule released today by NOAA. The expansion will help to protect the region’s marine and coastal habitats, biological resources and special ecological features.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located 42 miles north of San Francisco, will expand from 529 square miles to 1,286 square miles. Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will expand from 1,282 square miles to 3,295 square miles of ocean and coastal waters.

“We are thrilled to announce the expansion of two of our sanctuaries in California,” said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., acting assistant secretary of conservation and management and NOAA’s deputy administrator. “It’s important to conserve these special places that encourage partnerships in science, education, technology, management and community.”

The expansion is based on years of public comment and research by NOAA and its scientific partners that identified the nutrient-rich upwelling zone originating off Point Arena and flowing south into the original sanctuaries as one of the most productive in North America.

Cordell Bank and Gulf of Farallones national marine sanctuaries represent globally significant, extraordinarily diverse, and productive marine ecosystems that encompass areas as varied as estuarine wetlands, rocky intertidal habitat, open ocean, and shallow marine banks. They include areas of major upwelling where nutrients come to the surface and support a vast array of sea life including 25 endangered or threatened species, 36 marine mammal species, including blue, gray and humpback whales, harbor seals, elephant seals, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and one of the southernmost U.S. populations of Steller sea lions; over a quarter million breeding seabirds; and one of the most significant white shark populations on the planet.

“This expansion is the outcome of a tremendous collaborative effort by government, local communities, academia and elected officials to provide additional protection for critical marine resources,” said Daniel J. Basta, director of the NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “It presents a bold vision for protecting the waters off the northern California coast for current and future generations.”

During a review of both sanctuaries’ management plans, NOAA received comments from the public in 2001 expressing interest in expanding the boundaries north and west. In response, the revised management plans published in 2008 included a public process to consider possible expansion and ensure that sanctuary boundaries were inclusive of the surrounding area’s natural resources and ecological qualities.

Beginning in December 2012 through June 2014, NOAA conducted a public engagement process to allow the public to weigh in on the proposed expansion. The agency received more than 1,300 comments, most in support of the proposed expansion.

More information on the expansion can be found at http://farallones.noaa.gov/manage/expansion_cbgf.html.

Additional photos and video can be found at http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/california-expansion.

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1981, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1989, both contribute greatly to ocean and coastal management by engaging in public outreach and education to promote stewardship, conducting scientific and applied research initiatives, and developing and supporting programs that strengthen resource protection for the long-term health of the region.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.

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Photo: Visitor’s look out at California’s historic Point Arena Lighthouse, which sits near the new northern boundary of the

expanded Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Credit: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

Contact:

Keeley Belva, keeley.belva@noaa.gov, 301-643-6463

Sarah Marquis, sarah.marquis@noaa.gov, 949-222-2212

8 Responses

  1. To what end? Usually when the feds deem themselves "responsible" for an area or "expanding" their domains it means more permits required and less access. <br /> <br /> Any Cali divers want to weigh in on this? Is this really as well-supported by the public at large as the text of the article seems to infer? Were any of you actually asked or polled about this?

    • Woot, I will cenrtialy put this to good use!
  2. This is one reason why the Drakes Bay Oyster Company had to be removed. Who's next?
  3. <blockquote><strong>AFdivedoc;7374507 wrote:</strong> To what end? Usually when the feds deem themselves "responsible" for an area or "expanding" their domains it means more permits required and less access. <br /> <br /> Any Cali divers want to weigh in on this? Is this really as well-supported by the public at large as the text of the article seems to infer? Were any of you actually asked or polled about this?</blockquote> <br /> Personally, I signed a petition in support of this action a year or two ago... Fellow Cali divers I know also think it's a wonderful thing. The reality is, 90%+ of the world's commercial fisheries are in nearly complete collapse; do you think THAT is a good thing?! Full disclosure: I used to be a NOAA observer.
  4. <blockquote><strong>SwallowReefer;7376631 wrote:</strong> Personally, I signed a petition in support of this action a year or two ago... Fellow Cali divers I know also think it's a wonderful thing. The reality is, 90%+ of the world's commercial fisheries are in nearly complete collapse; do you think THAT is a good thing?! Full disclosure: I used to be a NOAA observer.</blockquote> <br /> Just curious, where did you get the 90% figure? According to the UN FAO report of 2014, 71% of commercially important fish stocks monitored by FAO are within sustainable levels, and 29% are overfished. Not a great number by any means, but certainly not indicative of 90% in "nearly complete collapse."<br /> <br /> Not trying to get into a shouting match here, but I do check numbers people throw out. <br /> <br /> Back to the original subject, were public meetings held on this matter? Were non-NOAA associated personnel with a vested interest in the areas (commercial fisherman, dive operations, etc) invited, and are meeting minutes available?
  5. <blockquote><strong>SwallowReefer;7376631 wrote:</strong> Personally, I signed a petition in support of this action a year or two ago... Fellow Cali divers I know also think it's a wonderful thing. The reality is, 90%+ of the world's commercial fisheries are in nearly complete collapse; do you think THAT is a good thing?! Full disclosure: I used to be a NOAA observer.</blockquote> <br /> Of course, our oceans are worthy of care. No one is arguing that point. The issue is, where is the evidence to support certain claims? In the case of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, there is no scientific evidence to support its closure, only politics. It's evident the politics of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company closure is related to the expansion of this marine sanctuary. Full disclosure: I eat abalone, not oysters.
  6. NOAA expanded their marine sanctuary here in Lake Huron to protect "historically significant" shipwrecks. Most wrecks here in the lakes are working vessels hauling general cargo of no special interests which makes them quite unhistorical. Then all of a sudden fisherman had to acquire extra permits to fish areas that they have used for decades and the shipping companies had to lobby the state and federal govt to lessen restrictions on commercial shipping in the sanctuaries. We hunt shipwrecks using sidescan sonar and have 2500sq mile lead over them with a few great wrecks that we hide away from them. Now with the new expanded sanctuary they tried to get us to release the numbers to them, and that was not going to happen. Next thing we hear is that they want to issue permits for those searching for shipwrecks in the sanctuary and what we find we must report, that also counts for where we have been. So my view on NOAA is very low indeed. Enjoy your new sanctuary.
  7. Why not encompass the whole Pacific Ocean for your National Marine Sanctuary ? " Beginning in December 2012 through June 2014, NOAA conducted a public engagement process to allow the public to weigh in on the proposed expansion. The agency received more than 1,300 comments, most in support of the proposed expansion." WOW ! ! ! Received more than 1300 comments, most in support of the proposed expansion. Most, but not all of the 1300 out of how many people who live in the state of California ? Who elected you to make these laws for the rest of us here in California ? It seams every year we get more and more groups to make laws for the rest of us with NO authority do do so. William

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