Posts Tagged marine sanctuaries

Sep 7 2017

Sen Sullivan to NOAA: ‘Meaningful Changes’ Needed for Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments

September 6, 2017 (Saving Seafood) — In a letter last month to NOAA Acting Administrator Benjamin Friedman, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) called for “meaningful changes” to marine sanctuary and marine national monument designations, particularly in the form of greater stakeholder engagement.

In his letter, Sen. Sullivan, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, called the concept of marine sanctuaries and monuments “well-intentioned” but wrote that they had caused challenges for coastal communities across the country, including Alaska’s “robust commercial fishing industry.”

“Fisheries restrictions imposed outside of the process utilized by Regional Fishery Management Councils on these areas are problematic for the communities who rely on access to commercial fisheries,” Sen. Sullivan wrote.

Sen. Sullivan expressed concern that the National Marine Sanctuary Act, while requiring stakeholder engagement, does not require that this engagement be taken into consideration when designating a sanctuary. “This can lead to communities feeling betrayed by the agency when the established sanctuaries are unrecognizable to the localities who spent years working with NOAA to form a mutually beneficial designation and management structure,” he wrote.

Sen. Sullivan also called into question the process by which the president can unilaterally establish national monuments with no stakeholder consultation under the Antiquities Act. He criticized recent presidents for using the national monument process as a “political tool” to “limit access to economically viable resources.”

“This action is often taken at the request of non-affected parties such as environmental groups,” he wrote. “This is problematic when monuments are established without the use of best-available science, absent stakeholder engagement, and inattentive to the economic consequences for local communities.”

On August 24, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke completed a review of national monuments ordered by President Donald Trump. While Secretary Zinke’s full recommendations have not been made public, the AP reported that they include changes to a “handful” of monuments.


Download/Read the full letter here [PDF]



Jan 22 2015

Official unveiling next week for North Coast marine sanctuary expansion

SonomaCoastKamilah Motley of Washington, D.C. takes in the sweeping view of the Sonoma Coast, north of Bodega Bay, Monday Jan. 20, 2015. The unveiling of the expanded Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries will take place next week. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

Last-minute consultations were underway in Washington this week in advance of the expected publication Tuesday of final plans for expansion of two adjoining national marine sanctuaries off the North Coast.

Reports of a few lingering operational questions on the part of Coast Guard officials should not impede implementation of long-sought protections for the swath of wildlife-rich waters offshore of Sonoma County, federal sanctuary personnel said.

“So far, the information I have is we are not anticipating any delays,” said Maria Brown, superintendent of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

The proposed move, announced by the Obama administration in December 2012, will more than double the size of the combined Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries, extending federal protections north along the Sonoma Coast to Point Arena in southern Mendocino County.

The action will fulfill a four-decade quest to ban energy and mineral exploration and extraction off that stretch of coastline, extending federal protection to an additional 2,769 square miles of ocean.

The final rule on the expansion is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, Jan. 27, triggering a 45-day review by Congress and California Gov. Jerry Brown before the area is officially included in sanctuary boundaries. Sanctuary officials earlier had said the rule would be published Jan. 20.

Matt Stout, communications director for the National Marine Sanctuary System, said the expansion is the agency’s largest undertaking of its kind short of creating a new sanctuary. But he said strong support for the plan among lawmakers suggested smooth sailing ahead.

“This expansion has grown out of the will of Congress to see something happen here,” Stout said. “We’ve had nothing but absolutely fantastic support from all members of Congress. And the local delegation is incredibly vocal and supportive, so we wouldn’t anticipate any challenge.”

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

Read original story: The Press Democrat