Ocean Protection, Marine Protected Areas
July 15 2016

Federal Leaders Introduce Bill to Protect Seamounts off California

by Pete Stauffer

Congressmen Sam Farr (CA) and Ted Lieu (CA) have introduced the California Seamounts and Ridges National Marine Conservation Area Designation and Management Act (H.R. 5797) to protect seamounts, ridges and banks in federal waters off the California coastline.

The proposal would protect these outstanding public resources from oil and gas development, deep-sea mining, aquaculture, and damaging fishing practices. Consisting of ancient islands, underwater volcanoes and mountain ranges, these areas host large concentrations of a variety of species and support extraordinarily high productivity. Endangered fin and blue whales and white abalone, unique angler fish and sea jellies, and rare deep-water corals and sponges are just some of the species that rely upon these valuable habitats.

As marine protected areas (MPAs) these places would remain open to recreational and charter boat fishing, scuba diving, paddling, and other low impact activities. Development of a management plan would include a robust public consultation process with tribes, fishermen and other stakeholders to better understand the activities occurring in certain areas. 

Although these remote areas are offshore and relatively far from coastal populations, these seamounts, ridges and banks are at risk from human impacts. Climate change, ocean acidification, over fishing, energy development, mining and other activities threaten these unique areas.

“Growing up along the Central Coast, I’ve always loved our oceans and I know how important they are for our environment and economy,” said Rep. Sam Farr. “In 42 years of serving in elected office, I’ve championed ocean conservation and policies to improve our coastal communities. This bill carries on that legacy by bringing together fisherman, tribes, scientists, community leaders, organizations and governments to protect extraordinary waters.”

The Surfrider Foundation is part of a growing coalition of groups and businesses that support the California Seamounts and Ridges National Marine Conservation Area Designation and Management Act. Please see the links below to learn more and get involved!

Visit the Calfornia Seamounts webpage 

Sign the petition to federal leaders click here