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California's Cordell Bank, Farallones Sanctuaries More Than Double in Size

Expanded boundaries protect thousands of square miles of marine and coastal resources

Bowling Ball Beach in California

Protecting Coastal Habitats

Bowling Ball Beach is one location that will be protected within the expanded Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

On June 9, 2015, the size of California's Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries more than doubled. The expansion will help protect the region’s marine and coastal habitats, biological resources, and special ecological features.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located 42 miles north of San Francisco, expanded from 529 square miles to 1,286 square miles. Gulf of the Farallones — renamed Greater Farallones — National Marine Sanctuary grew from 1,282 square miles to 3,295 square miles of ocean and coastal waters. The name change reflects the sanctuary's new geographical boundaries and expanded opportunities for stewardship, research, and education.

The expansion of the two sanctuaries was based on years of public comment and research by NOAA and its scientific partners, which identified the nutrient-rich upwelling zone originating off Point Arena and flowing south into the original sanctuaries as one of the most productive in North America. Both sanctuaries promote stewardship, conduct scientific and applied research initiatives, and develop and support programs to strengthen resource protection for the long-term health of the region.

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A 2015 NOAA report found significant economic benefits of recreational fishing in California's national marine sanctuaries. Anglers spent approximately $156 million on saltwater recreational fishing in the state's four national marine sanctuaries, which generated more than $200 million in annual economic output and supported nearly 1,400 jobs.

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