Carbajal Announces Support for Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary Designation

Requests that NOAA move forward with study and public engagement period

San Luis Obispo, CA – Ahead of World Oceans’ Day on Friday, June 8th, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24)  announced his full support for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary nomination process. Today, Carbajal wrote U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to express his support for the designation and to request that the agency act upon the pending application for the sanctuary.

“Marine sanctuaries play an essential role in protecting California’s sensitive marine and coastal areas from further oil and gas development,” said Carbajal. “The protection these biologically diverse marine areas also directly benefit our state’s $1.9 trillion coastal economy, including our robust tourism and commercial fishing industries on the Central Coast. The nomination of the Chumash National Marine Sanctuary was the product of years of public engagement with local communities and I urge NOAA to move forward with protecting this unique area for future generations.”

The nomination was added to NOAA’s inventory of successful nominations in October 2015, which is the first step to become eligible for a national marine sanctuary designation.  In order for the area to obtain the sanctuary designation, the site must go through the complete designation process, which includes drafting of a management plan and several opportunities for public comment and review.

View the letter here or read its text below:

The Honorable Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230


Dear Secretary Ross:

I am writing in support of advancing the nomination process to designate the proposed areas between the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. If moved forward, this designation will help preserve sacred submerged Chumash cultural sites and protect diverse marine natural resources that are essential to California’s $1.9 trillion coastal economy.

Currently, our oceans face unprecedented challenges ranging from warming ocean waters, increased plastic ocean pollution, and threats of new offshore oil and gas exploration activities. The waters off the Central Coast of California are some of the most biologically diverse waters on the West Coast. These areas include feeding grounds for numerous species of whales and dolphins, sea otter populations, thriving kelp forests, and are home to vital commercial and recreational fisheries. 

Designating this area as a marine sanctuary would ensure we continue to be good stewards of these natural resources and maintain sustainable access to these resources for commercial and recreational fishermen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that between 2010 and 2012, harvest from commercial fishing in the four existing California national marine sanctuaries produced about $69.2 million. This had a multiplier effect, which generated $70 million in income that supported 1,840 coastal jobs.

The nomination for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary was the product of years of public engagement with local communities and has wide support from stakeholders. As you move forward with this nomination, I urge that you also continue this partnership with the community and take into account views of all stakeholders, including our local fisherman, tribal leaders, and businesses with coastal infrastructure.




Member of Congress



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