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Concluding Remarks

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is an offshore location compared to some other marine sanctuaries, a fact reflected in fairly good water and habitat quality ratings. However, the sanctuary is still susceptible to a number of human impacts including pollutants from land and ocean sources, overfishing, and habitat disturbance. All of these impacts have reduced, to some extent, the quality of some living resources within the sanctuary. Management actions intended to protect the bank and its rich natural resources involve working cooperatively with other management authorities to implement and enforce regulations and conduct scientific investigations and assessments. Sanctuary resources under threat seem to be responding favorably to protective measures put in place over the last several years, particularly with regard to fishing impacts. Much remains to be understood about the ecosystem of Cordell Bank sanctuary, and an increase in monitoring programs is needed in certain areas, particularly contaminants and non-native species. Many impacts caused by human activities may be hidden by the extremely high levels of natural annual to multi-decadal variation in resources in the region. Thus, the approach to management will continue to involve focusing on assessments of specific areas of interest based on perceived threats, and continued studies of fundamental ecosystem drivers and interactions among resources.

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