Two California Marine Sanctuaries Expanded by Federal Agency, now Off Limits to All Kinds of Watercrafts

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Tuesday the expansion of  two Californian marine refuges: the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries, doubling their original sizes and stretching from  west of Bodega Bay in Sonoma County to an area in the  north of Point Arena in Mendocino County .

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will increase from 1,282 square miles to 3,295 square miles while Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary  will now  cover 1,286 miles from its original area of 529 square miles, extending into  the offshore waters of Marin County to include  Bodega Canyon.

This move has limited the movement of cargo ship, aircraft and private sea vessels.  It has also barred gas and oil exploration in these areas.  This move by the NOAA however, does not restrict commercial or recreational fishing but it will curb other activities: surfing, whale watching sessions that involve boarding low-flying aircrafts, and shipwreck excursions in particular.  Certain activities shall be restricted to specific areas within the protected zones or prohibited unless the necessary permits are secured.

The expansion is a result of the government’s efforts to  protect the region’s “marine and coastal habitats, biological resources and special ecological features.”  John Armor, acting director of the agency’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries explains: “This expansion represents the culmination of a multi-year effort to protect an important part of the ocean.”

Armor adds that the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary,( declared a protected zone  in 1981) , and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary                ( decreed a sanctuary in 1989)  both “contribute greatly to ocean and coastal management by engaging in public outreach and education.”


Rephrased from source:





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