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Soundings Archive

NOAA Tries to Satisfy Governor Schwarzenegger Objections to Marine Sanctuary Rules for California
On November 20, 2008, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published final revised management plans and revised regulations for the Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank, and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries. The NOAA regulations in question would have prohibited the introduction of introduced species into the sanctuaries with exceptions for striped bass caught and released during fishing and current state-permitted mariculture activities in Tomales Bay, which is part of Farallones sanctuary.

The National Marine Sanctuaries Act allows the governor of any affected state to object to the plan and rules within 45 days of continuous session of Congress after their publication.

On December 23, 2008, within the 45-day period, Governor Scharzenegger sent a letter to the Secretary of Commerce conditionally objecting to the revised terms of designation that would have allowed NOAA to issue regulations prohibiting the introduction of introduced species in the state waters of the Farallones and Monterey Bay. The Governor conditioned his objection to the revised terms of designation on NOAA's willingness and ability to modify these regulations to exempt all state-permitted aquaculture activities in Monterey Bay and Farollones sanctuaries and research involving the introduction of introduced species into Monterey Bay.

On March 23, 2009, NOAA publicly announced that the regulations for the Farrallones and Cordell Bank sanctuaries became effective on March 9, 2009 in their entirety; while the regulations for the Monterey Bay sanctuary also became effective on March 9, 2009, except for the regulations prohibiting the introduction of introduced species in Monterey Bay state waters.

In the same notice, NOAA announced that its will initiate a process to consider making the Governor's requested changes to the introduced species regulation in the Farallones sanctuary.

NOAA is working with the California Resources Agency and the California Department of Fish and Game to find a mutually agreeable solution to the Governor's concerns. Both NOAA and the State are optimistic that the process discussed in detail in NOAA's March 23rd Federal Register notice will achieve this goal.

These marine sanctuaries contain marine mammals.

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