A pair of marine sanctuaries north of the Bay Area is being considered for expansion. Under the proposal, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would extend the boundaries of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries north to Alder Creek in Mendocino County, and west to the edge of the continental shelf. The proposed expansion could protect an additional 2,771 square miles of ocean from overfishing, oil and gas drilling, and sewage dumping by cruise ships.
The public is invited to submit comments online before Monday, June 30. Your comments can help to support and strengthen the expansion of the marine sanctuaries.
Both sanctuaries are home to extraordinary marine ecosystems known for their rich biological diversity. The area is home to dozens of species of marine mammals, including 25 endangered species such as the blue and humpback whales. With one of the most productive ocean upwelling systems on earth, the area attracts a diverse community of fishes, invertebrates, marine mammals, and seabirds from all around the Pacific Ocean to feed in its nutrient-rich waters. NOAA is also considering amending the regulations and management plans for both Marine Sanctuaries. In addition to protecting ecologically-significant seascapes and wildlife, the expanded sanctuaries would promote ecotourism and sustainable fishing practices.
You can include the following Sample Statements when you submit your comments online:
- I support the expansion of the Gulf of Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries!
- Remove the authorization provision that could potentially allow drilling, dredging, marine sewage outfalls, and the taking of marine life.
- Increase the 1,000-foot overflight protections for wildlife hot-spots to 2,000 feet, as in the Olympic Coast Sanctuary.
- Remove the provision for “Personal Water Craft Zones” that allows recreational watercraft and jet skis in Marine Protected Areas. Allow surfer safety craft by permit only.
- The entire Marin coast is part of the Gulf of the Farallones upwelling ecosystem, not the Monterey Bay ecosystem. Please move the MBNMS/GFNMS boundary south to include the entire Marin Coast.
Remember to submit your comments before June 30! Thank you for doing your part to protect the unique ocean ecosystems off California’s north coast.