Sunday, September 28, 2008

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: needed expansion to protect seamount

It was announced this past Friday that the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary will be expanded to include a 585 sq. nautical mile area to safeguard Davidson Seamount, one of the largest underwater mountains in U.S. waters. The expansion will be finalized on November 1 and managed by NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuaries agencies.

Davidson Seamount, 70 miles off the California coast, is 4,120 feet below the surface but extends another 7,784 feet to the ocean floor. It is home to a variety of deep, cold water animals and its location attracts a variety of sealife in the waters above the peak, providing nourishment for other fish, sea birds, and whales. The seamount and its slow growing/slow reproducing inhabitants are susceptible to the ravaging effects of commercial bottom-trawling, where weighted nets are dragged across the seafloor.

There are several state and federal marine sanctuaries or protected areas along the California coast and, through effective government agency enforcement and overall public and commercial cooperation, they have proven to be successful in not only just providing protection but in improving the health of the marine ecosystems that have in the past been threatened or damaged by commercial fishing, oil exploration, and pollution.

Good news. Put a check in the win column.

No comments: