Capps backs Central Coast marine sanctuary
May 3, 2016
With just months left in her final term in office, Rep. Lois Capps has thrown her support behind a Chumash tribal proposal to create a national marine sanctuary ranging from Cambria to Santa Barbara. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently considering the request.
The marine sanctuary proposal is intended to protect the ecosystem off the Central Coast, a portion of which is sacred to the Chumash. Fishermen have opposed the idea, saying it would lead to more fishing regulations and harm the local fishing industry.
Capps said she is sending a letter to NOAA requesting the agency act on the pending application for the sanctuary. On Monday, Capps held a press conference at the Pismo Beach Pier to announce her support for the marine sanctuary proposal. Supervisor Bruce Gibson and San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx, as well as Chumash tribal leaders joined Capps in calling for marine sanctuary designation.
“These waters are essential for our way of life and the local economy, and they must be protected,” Capps said. “Designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary would go a long way to help protect this area and preserve it for current and future generations.”
Last October, the Chumash proposal was added to NOAA’s list of successful nominations. That is the first step toward becoming eligible for marine sanctuary designation, Capps stated.
Before the sanctuary designation occurs, officials must draft a management plan for the area and allow the public to review it.
There are currently 14 national marine sanctuaries. The Chumash proposal is located in between two of them — the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.