National marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers closed to the public; waters remain open

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are currently closed to the public, and in accordance with Executive Order 13991 - Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask Wearing, all individuals in NOAA-managed areas are required to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on mask-wearing and maintaining social distances. Sanctuary waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance, U.S. Coast Guard requirements, and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on

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Research Technical Report

A PDF version of this poster is available here:

MSCI470_2013.pdf (1.6MB)

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Characterization of Demersal Fish Assemblages Within Seven Sanctuary Ecologically Significant Areas in the MBNMS

Twenty-Two Students of MSCI 470 Science, Policy & Management in the Marine Environment, California State University Monterey Bay (April 2013)

Poster presentation at Sanctuary Currents Symposium, Seaside, CA


The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) has recently embarked on a new program dedicated to identifying areas special significance within the Sanctuary. The process has resulted in the designation of 17 Sanctuary Ecologically Significant Areas (or SESAs) across the length of the Sanctuary. All of the SESAs occur entirely within Federal waters. We used imagery collected via remotely operated vehicle and towed camera sled between 2007 – 2012 to extract data on the distribution of demersal fishes within selected SESAs. We conducted transects across the seven SESAs, ranging from Ascencion Canyon in the north to Pt. Piedras Blancas in the south, and observed a total of 43,047 fish across those transects. Each fish was identified to the lowest taxonomic level possible and was precisely geo-referenced. The substrate beneath each fish was also characterized. Patterns in the distribution of selected fishes within and across SESA's offer insights in the ecological attributes of the SESAs and will guide additional sampling in summer 2013. Though there are no new regulations associated with the SESAs, an understanding of the communities within each SESA will aid the MBNMS in meeting its management objectives, and can serve as a baseline against which any future change in the SESAs can be measured.