Cordell Bank


Ocean Bank

An ocean bank, sometimes called a fishing bank, is an elevation of the seafloor on the continental shelf where the water becomes shallow. Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary protects Cordell Bank, located offshore just north of the Gulf of Farallones, measuring roughly 4.5 miles wide by 9.5 miles long. The bank was formed nearly 100 million years ago as part of the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, and now supports a healthy benthic community of sessile invertebrates. Seasonal upwelling caused by the California Current brings in nutrient-rich water that fuels the food web from phytoplankton to fish, marine mammals, and seabirds.

Ocean banks
Photo: Robert Lee/Bay Area Underwater Explorers