Conservation & Science

Action alert: Help protect our national marine sanctuaries  

Our blue parks are a source of pride for Californians, and all Americans. They are living proof that the sustainable use of our ocean goes hand in hand with robust coastal economies, valuable fisheries and thriving marine habitats.

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A white shark swims in the nutrient-rich waters of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by Steven K. Webster/Monterey Bay Aquarium

But millions of acres of protected U.S. waters could be opened up for offshore oil and gas drilling, following an executive order issued in April, titled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy.”

Now is the time to speak up in defense of our national marine sanctuaries and monuments. A 30-day public comment period, which opened up in late June, is part of a federal review called for by the executive order.

UPDATE: The deadline for public comments has been extended. We now have until August 14 to make our voices heard. 

1. Add your comment to the Federal Register.

2. Check out our suggested talking points below.

The federal review targets parts of four national marine sanctuaries in California— Monterey Bay, Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones and Channel Islands—along with seven other sanctuaries and monuments in U.S. waters.

American national marine sanctuaries were created with bipartisan support, extensive scientific input and broad community participation. They generate billions of dollars each year, driving coastal tourism and supporting healthy fisheries.

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Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey is one example of the economic benefits of our national marine sanctuaries. Photo ©Steve Kepple

“Monterey Bay Aquarium will do all we can to support our national marine sanctuaries, and to work for policies that protect vulnerable coastal communities from the threats that accompany offshore oil and gas development,” Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard said.

The public comment period is open through August 14. Please lend your voice! Visit the Federal Register Comment Page and tell the White House why the U.S. must continue to protect our precious national marine sanctuaries and monuments.

Here are some suggested points for your public comment:

Personalized messages get more attention. When you post your comment to the Federal Register, please use the talking points most relevant to where you live, and add your own perspective on what our nation’s protected waters mean to you. You can also upload a photo of a treasured memory at your local national marine sanctuary.


If you live or work in the Monterey Bay region, note that the executive order targets the 2009 expansion of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to include Davidson Seamount.

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Clockwise from upper left: cnidarian, bubblegum coral, mushroom coral, jellyfish and octopus in the Davidson Seamount, part of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photos by NOAA/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute via CC BY 2.0.

– I live/work in the Central Coast of California, and I am proud to have the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in my backyard. The Sanctuary’s 2009 expansion to include Davidson Seamount was the result of seven years of public input and agency collaboration.

Davidson Seamount is one of the world’s largest underwater volcanoes, safeguarding critical habitat for amazing deep-sea creatures and providing productive feeding grounds for an abundance of fish, marine mammals and seabirds. The Sanctuary was expanded to increase protections for the exceptional marine wildlife and habitats that help drive our economy and inspire our way of life.

– Please maintain the full extent of protections for the Davidson Seamount and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.


If you live or work in California, note that the executive order targets the 2009 expansion of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the 2007 expansion of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the 2015 expansion of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the 2015 expansion of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

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Elephant seals bask in the sun in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by NOAA via CC BY 2.0

– I live/work in ___, California, and I am proud that my state is home to four national marine sanctuaries. The expansions of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary each involved years of public input and agency collaboration.

– They were expanded to increase science-based protections for the exceptional marine wildlife and habitats that help drive our economy and inspire our way of life.

– Please maintain the full extent of protections for each of the California National Marine Sanctuaries.


If you live outside of California, note that in addition to above, the executive order also targets the 2009 designation of the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, the 2014 expansion of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the 2016 expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Sanctuary, the 2009 designation and 2014 expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, the 2016 designation of the Northeast Coral Canyons and Seamounts marine National Monument, and the 2012 expansion of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.

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Schools of fish swim above a coral reef in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Photo by James Watt/NOAA Office of Marine National Sanctuaries via CC BY 2.0

– I am proud to live in a country that protects its unique and valuable natural resources, especially wildlife and habitats in our ocean and Great Lakes. I strongly support full protection for each of our national marine sanctuaries and national marine monuments.

– These areas were designated and expanded with bipartisan support, scientific input and broad community participation. They protect the long-term health of natural resources that enhance the well-being of local communities, and contribute billions to the U.S. economy.

– Please maintain the full extent of protections for each of the nation’s National Marine Sanctuaries and National Marine Monuments.

Thank you for using your voice to protect our national underwater treasures. Together, we can build a better future for our blue planet.


Featured photo: A humpback whale breaches in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Learn more about Conservation & Science at Monterey Bay Aquarium

171 thoughts on “Action alert: Help protect our national marine sanctuaries  ”

  1. I love sea animals, my favorite was the dolphin. That changes when i was taken on a school trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium. Otters from that day on became my favorite animal. I now live in Fresno but I’m super excited I have a younger sibling going to Monterey State. Please help us protect this beautiful and peaceful sanctuary, it’s a gem and a place to learn and to relax. #iloveotters!!!!!

    Like

    1. Osi again: my sibling going to Monterey state means I can visit otters and make friend trips more often, and of course visit my sister as well 🙃

      Like

  2. Please maintain the full extent of protections for each of the nation’s National Marine Sanctuaries and National Marine Monuments. Please protect the sea otters!!

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  3. Please vote NO to oil and gas exploration and drilling in marine sanctuaries. These parks generate billions of dollars from tourism and protect many species that are in critical danger. We must protect our environment for ourselves and future generations.

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  4. I live in Monterey County. Offshore oil/gas drilling in our backyard, the Monterey Bay and in other marine sanctuaries, will be a disaster waiting to happen. How about let’s not even go there?
    Let’s keep our marine sanctuaries safe. Thank you.

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  5. I am not a resident of California however I one hundred perecent support the opposition of oil drilling in all bodies of water world-wide. Being raised in a town boardering the Gulf of Mexico I was blessed with growing up in the water and encountering sea life. Oil drilling is pretty much a catastrophic disaster waiting to happen which was evident in 2010 during the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico releasg 130 MILLION gallons of oil into our beautiful gulf. The oil went everywhere even with efforts to keep it “under control” which included releasing more toxic chemicals into our waters. The oil affected all sea life of the region, the oil washed up onshore affecting terrestrial life, vegetation and estuaries, the oil sank to the bottom of the ocean effecting deep sea coral which in turn impacts a whole other ecosystem of its own, and the oil impacts those who ingest sea life such as birds and humans. I saw what this oil spill did to the gulf coast community and how it affected fisherman and sea life. I saw dead fish wash up on my home town beaches. No oil spill needs to happen because the world is advancing. There are so many alternative energies these days: solar, wind, hydro, thermal, etc – why do need MORE oil rigs which in turn damages life no matter what because another accident spill is going to happen. California has TOO MANY oil rigs to begin with, you look out into the Pacific Ocean and right there you see five aligned right next to each other, not even five miles apart. We need to continue with sanctuaries for our protected species, the sea otter is in threat and especially the species that inhabit the Monterey area. Without this species the whole Pacific ecosystem will be in a major threat. I am nineteen years old and I am wise enough to say this is not cool. Oil drilling needs to be stopped completely and if you can’t see that then you need to open your eyes and stop thinking only about yourself and what you’ve been programmed to think by society.

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  6. The Earth we live on is full of rare and precious things. Species that only exist one place in an entire universe! The human race has a responsibility to protect and prevent destruction of wildlife and environmental jewels. We’ve already done enough harm to our beautiful, precious planet. Please, no more.

    – Please maintain the full extent of protections for each of the nation’s National Marine Sanctuaries and National Marine Monuments.

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  7. Conserving and preserving the nature should also be one of the main focus of our government. Hope these beautiful animals would be considered important than money.

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  8. – I live in San Diego, California, and I am proud that my state is home to four national marine sanctuaries. The expansions of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary each involved years of public input and agency collaboration. They were expanded to increase science-based protections for the exceptional marine wildlife and habitats that help drive our economy and inspire our way of life. Please maintain the full extent of protections for each of the California National Marine Sanctuaries.

    Like

  9. Save the sanctuaries! We only have one Earth and we need to protect it and all it’s creatures. (Especially the cute ones like Otters)

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  10. Save the Earth! We only have one Earth with Otters and so many other beautiful and incredible animals and things that inhabit it. We need to protect it; if we don’t we are no better then terrorist to our own planet.

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  11. Being kind to all living things over money ANY day. No more oil… we don’t need it. We do need cute lil otters and a healthy eco system though😊👍🏼

    Like

  12. I am proud to live in a country that protects its unique and valuable natural resources, especially wildlife and habitats in our ocean and Great Lakes. I strongly support full protection for each of our national marine sanctuaries and national marine monuments.

    Like

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