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Marine Sanctuaries

In 1972, exactly one hundred years after the first national park was created, the nation made a similar commitment to preserving its marine treasures by establishing the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Since then, thirteen national marine sanctuaries, representing a wide variety of ocean environments, have been designated.


Today, our marine sanctuaries encompass deep ocean gardens, near shore coral reefs, whale migration corridors, deep sea canyons, and even underwater archeological sites. They range in size from one-quarter square mile in Fagatele Bay, American Samoa to over 5,300 square miles in Monterey Bay, California, one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. Together these sanctuaries protect nearly 18,000 square miles of ocean waters and habitats, an area nearly the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. While some activities are regulated or prohibited in sanctuaries to protect resources, multiple uses such as recreation, commercial fishing, and shipping, are encouraged. Research, educational, and outreach activities are other major components in each sanctuary's program of resource protection.


Use links below for further information on use of resources and to the restrictions governing these areas.


Check here for National Marine Sanctuaries Program information. 



California Marine Sanctuaries Locations


Cordell Bank

Visit the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Web site here:


Gulf of the Farallones

Visit the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Web site here:


Monterey Bay

Visit the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Web site here:


Channel Islands

Visit the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Web site here:


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