Giant Sea Volcano Gets Marine Protected Status

A federal plan filed Thursday increases the size of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

With the addition of a 585-square mile area above and around the Davidson Seamount, about 80 miles west of Cambria, the sanctuary now encompasses 6,094 square miles of ocean.

The seamount is one of the world’s largest undersea mountains. Sanctuary protections include prohibitions on harmful discharges by cruise ships; protection of white sharks; protection from non-native and invasive species; and restrictions on disturbing marine mammals.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the final management plan for the sanctuary, which stretches along 276 miles of coastline from just north of San Francisco to Cambria.

Plans for Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones sanctuaries northwest of San Francisco were also released. The three plans were prepared concurrently during the past seven years of planning, public meetings and revisions.

In addition to the added area, sanctuary regulations will also be tightened in its existing area, including discharges by desalination plants and restricting personal watercraft to four areas near Monterey Bay harbors.

Regulations in the plans will become effective in mid-March.

Sanctuaries are supposed to update their management plans every five years to keep up with changing conditions, technologies and knowledge of undersea areas.

SOURCE: (by way of the Surfrider Foundation’s “Soup” e-newsletter)

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