Northern Channel Islands Marine Protected Areas Join Growing Network of Global Ocean Refuges

SANTA BARBARA―At the Ocean Conference in Oslo, Norway on Oct. 28, Marine Conservation Institute and its international science council recognized the Northern Channel Islands Marine Protected Areas off the coast of Santa Barbara, California as an outstanding marine protected area (MPA) with a Blue Park designation.

A total of 16 MPAs now hold the prestigious Blue Park Award, indicating that they meet the highest science-based standards for marine life protection and management. This Blue Park Award recognizes outstanding efforts by state and federal managers including NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the National Park Service, and the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife – all of which collaborate with other important partners to protect the island’s marine ecosystem now and into the future.

“Our goal is to recognize those MPAs like those around the northern Channel Islands that deliver real results for marine life conservation and inspire others around the world to strongly protect 30% of the ocean’s most important places by 2030,” said Dr. Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute. “We hope that Blue Park recognition of the Northern Channel Islands MPAs provides a shining example of regional marine conservation efforts and inspires others to follow the same path to protect our oceans for generations to come.”

Over 5,000 species of invertebrates, mammals like seals and sea lions, large, open-water fish, small schooling fish, and seabirds all live here. Many of the animals in the marine protected areas around the Channel Islands are also protected endangered species, for example the blue whale, orca, olive ridley sea turtle, and fur seal.

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