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NOAA 04 - R428
March 24, 2004


Michael Murray
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
(805) 884-1464


The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) today announced the appointment of one member and two alternates to serve on the site’s Sanctuary Advisory Council.

“We receive important advice and assistance from our advisory council that is essential to the on-going management of the sanctuary,” said CINMS Manager Chris Mobley. “We are very pleased to welcome new members to the council and the creation of a council seat for recreational fishing interests. We look forward to working closely with the recreational and sport fishing communities. We deeply appreciate the time and energy that all council members commit to making the sanctuary a success.”

Named to fill open seats for recreational fishing and the public at-large are the following individuals:

  • Recreational Fishing - Primary member: Captain Merit McCrea, Santa Barbara, Calif. McCrea has owned and operated commercial passenger fishing vessels for more than 20 years, and is extremely knowledgeable about sanctuary waters. He previously served as the fishing seat alternate on the advisory council.

  • Recreational Fishing - Alternate: Stephen Roberson, Camarillo, Calif. Roberson has been an active recreational angler at the Channel Islands for 20 years, and was formerly a member of the advisory council’s marine reserves working group.

  • Public At-Large - Alternate: Jim Knowlton, Ventura, Calif. Knowlton is a professional cameraman and video editor for films relating to the ocean, and has extensive experience in sanctuary waters.

Sanctuary Advisory Council members and alternatives serve two-year terms. The advisory council meets bi-monthly in public sessions in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council was established in December 1998 to assure continued public participation in the management of the sanctuary. Serving in a volunteer capacity, the advisory council’s 20 voting members represent a variety of local user groups, as well as the general public, plus 10 local, state and federal government jurisdictions. Since its establishment, the advisory council has played a vital role in advising the sanctuary and NOAA on critical issues and is currently focused on the development of a new five-year management plan, the consideration of establishing marine protected areas within the sanctuary, and various water quality concerns.

The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1980, spans 1,252 square nautical miles surrounding the Channel Islands off the coast of California. The sanctuary supports a rich and diverse range of marine life, habitats and culturally significant resources. This diversity, along with the busy Santa Barbara Channel, brings significant human use and value to sanctuary waters, including commercial and recreational fisheries, marine wildlife viewing, boating, recreational activities, maritime shipping, nearby offshore oil and gas development, research, monitoring and numerous educational activities.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) manages the NMSP and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. The NOS balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

The Commerce Department’s NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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