Federal Leaders Introduce Bill to Protect Seamounts off California

Photo: Brian Skeery

Photo: Brian Skeery

We are delighted to announce that Congressmen Sam Farr (CA) and Ted Lieu (CA) have introduced the California Seamounts and Ridges National Marine Conservation Area Designation and Management Act (H.R. 5797) to protect a series of nine seamounts, ridges and banks in federal waters off the California coastline.

Consisting of ancient islands, underwater volcanoes and mountain ranges, this “Blue Serengeti” hosts large concentrations of a variety of species and support extraordinarily high productivity. Endangered fin and blue whales and white abalone, unique angler fish and sea jellies, and rare deep-water corals and sponges are just some of the species that rely upon these valuable habitats.

Although these remote areas are offshore and relatively far from coastal populations, the fragile living habitats and finely tuned food webs on seamounts are vulnerable to the impacts of mining, drilling, fishing and climate change. This proposal would safeguard these special places for the future as marine protected areas (MPAs).

This bill represents a well-rounded proposal that takes into account the unique ecology and geography of each site, while also factoring in existing uses. Sport fishing and charter boat fishing, SCUBA diving, paddling, and other recreational activities would continue throughout. And tribes, fishermen and other stakeholders would work together to better understand activities occurring at these places and create an implementation plan.

“Growing up along the Central Coast, I’ve always loved our oceans and I know how important they are for our environment and economy,” said Rep. Sam Farr. “In 42 years of serving in elected office, I’ve championed ocean conservation and policies to improve our coastal communities. This bill carries on that legacy by bringing together fishermen, tribes, scientists, community leaders, organizations and governments to protect extraordinary waters.”

Please join the growing coalition of citizens, groups, and businesses that support the California Seamounts and Ridges National Marine Conservation Area Designation and Management Act!

 

 

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