ZONES NOW IN FEDERAL WATERS OF NOAA’S CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL
August 9, 2007 — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has completed a network of marine zones in the federal waters of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The federal water marine zones, which will protect marine habitats and sensitive species, went into effect on July 29, 2007. NOAA’s action complements an existing network of marine zones established in the waters of the sanctuary by the state of California in 2003. (Click NOAA image for a larger view of a SCUBA diver photographing the giant kelp forests found in the Channel Islands. In addition to being a food source for abalone, fish and invertebrates, kelp forests (Macrocystis pyrifera) provide shelter for many marine organisms. Factors such as these make kelp an extremely important part of the Channel Islands ecosystem, which is surrounded by beds of giant kelp. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit "NOAA." Photo by Robert Schwemmer.)
“The Channel Islands marine zoning network is now the largest in the continental United States,” said Daniel J. Basta, director of the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program. “This action was developed through an eight-year public process, coordinated closely with the state of California, the Pacific Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries Service. The countless community members who helped NOAA by providing scientific information, input and advice can be proud of this important conservation accomplishment.”
The federal action adds nine new marine zones, eight of which are no-take marine reserves and one limited take marine conservation area. NOAA’s action affects a total of 110.5 square nautical miles as marine reserves and 1.7 square nautical miles as marine conservation areas in the federal waters (three to six nautical miles offshore) of the sanctuary. The area of the network, including the existing state marine zones, is 214.1 square nautical miles. (Click NOAA image for a larger view of NOAA map showing marine zones in federal waters of NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit "NOAA.")
The two types of marine zones include marine reserves, where all extractive activities and injury to sanctuary resources are prohibited, and a marine conservation area that allows commercial and recreational lobster fishing and recreational fishing for pelagic species — all other resource extraction and injury is prohibited.
2002, the California Fish and Game Commission approved a comprehensive
marine zoning network in state waters of the sanctuary. The state
of California implemented part of the state marine zones in 2003, under
the California Fish and Game regulations. In 2006, to provide protection
to the seafloor and groundfish, NOAA Fisheries Service designated the
federal water portions offshore of the state marine zones as habitat
areas of particular concern and prohibited bottom fishing under the
Conservation and Management Act.
small gaps remain between the state and federal marine zones that are
an artifact of squaring off the state marine zones in 2003 for enforcement
and ease of recognition by boaters until the federal zones were established.
The California Fish and Game Commission began the process to fill these
small gaps to complete the Channel Islands marine zoning network in
May 2007, with an anticipated decision in October 2007.
The eight-year process to consider and designate the network included extensive input from the Channel Islands Sanctuary Advisory Council, relevant federal agencies, Pacific Fishery Management Council, resource departments of the state of California, and representatives of the public and stakeholder groups.
Copies of the Final Rule and Regulations are available from the Channel Islands sanctuary office, attn: Sean Hastings, 113 Harbor Way, Suite 150, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93109, or by calling (805) 884-1472. The document is also available at the sanctuary’s Web site, http://channelislands.noaa.gov, or by e-mail to email@example.com.
NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1980 to protect marine resources surrounding San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands. The sanctuary spans 1,658 square miles extending from island shorelines to six miles offshore, encompassing a rich diversity of marine life and habitats, as well as rich historic and cultural resources. (Click NOAA image for a larger view of California Sheephead, which use their strong teeth to feed on hard-shelled organisms like crabs, barnacles, mollusks, spiny lobsters, sea urchins, and abalone. This species is commercially and recreationally important. Populations off southern California have declined because of fishing pressure and reduced kelp beds. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit "NOAA." Photo by Robert Schwemmer.)
The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.
NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
David Hall, NOAA Ocean Service, (301) 713-3066 ext. 191