The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the National Marine Sanctuary Program
The MBNMS was officially established in 1992 (U.S. Dept. of Commerce 1992), by authority of the Secretary of Commerce under the 1972 Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (Title III, as amended 16 U.S.C. §§1431 et seq.). This designation was achieved 15 years after it was first nominated by the State of California for consideration as a national marine sanctuary. During this period, many site analyses and meetings were conducted to determine whether this region met the designation criteria required by the Secretary of Commerce, i.e. that:
a) "the area is of special national significance due to its resource or human-use values
b) existing state and federal authorities are inadequate to ensure coordinated and comprehensive conservation and management of the area, including resource protection, scientific research, and public education
c) designation of the area will ensure comprehensive conservation and management , including resource protection, scientific research, and public education
d) the area is of a size and nature that will permit comprehensive and coordinated conservation and management." (NOAA 1990)
The MBNMS is one of fourteen marine sanctuaries in U.S. waters, and the most recently designated of the four in California. Management of all National Marine Sanctuaries falls under the jurisdiction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (Figure 3). The Sanctuaries and Reserves Division of NOAA, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, provides national oversight and information exchange for the MBNMS and the thirteen other sanctuaries designated to date under the National Marine Sanctuary Program.
The National Marine Sanctuary Program's goals, to be upheld by the MBNMS and all designated marine sanctuaries, are to:
1. enhance resource protection, through comprehensive and coordinated conservation and management tailored to the specific resources that complements existing regulatory authorities
2. support, promote and coordinate scientific research on, and monitoring of, the site-specific marine resources to improve management decision-making in National Marine Sanctuaries
3. enhance public awareness, understanding, and wise use of the marine environment through public interpretive and recreational programs
4. facilitate, to the extent compatible with the primary objective of resource protection, multiple uses of these marine areas not prohibited pursuant to other authorities (NOAA 1992).
This MBNMS site characterization will provide readily accessible, current resource information which will significantly enhance sanctuary efforts to accomplish these goals.
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Site Characterization Scope, Format and Future