Error processing SSI file
Error processing SSI file


Error processing SSI file

back arrowforward arrow

The Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary was formed in 1980 to protect natural resources and to promote research and education. The islands of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are located between 11 and 65 miles (18-105 kilometers) off the Santa Barbara coast. They encompasses 1,252 square nautical miles of ocean habitat surrounding the four northern Channel Islands The Sanctuary boundaries extend from mean high tide to six nautical miles offshore from each of the islands. Santa Barbara is part of the southern Channel Islands, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel are part of the Northern Channel Islands. Because of the orientation of the northern and southern islands, and the different current influences that flow through the Southern California bight, ecologically distinct biogeographic zones formed creating the diverse array of habitats found in the sanctuary.

The distribution of plants and animals in the Sanctuary is strongly influenced by the unique combination of warm and cold-water currents that surround the islands. More than 1000 species of aquatic plants, fish, invertebrates, marine mammals and marine birds are found within the protected waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and new species are continually being discovered. The Sanctuary also provides full or part-time homes for several threatened and endangered species including blue, humpback and sei whales, southern sea otters, the California brown pelican and the California least tern.

The Sanctuary also supports valuable commercial industries such as fishing, diving, boating and tourism. In 1999, a community based Sanctuary Advisory Council was created to advise and assist the Sanctuary Manager on developing policies related to protecting the resources within the boundaries of the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary Advisory Council is represented by ten members from local, state and federal government agencies and ten community members representing tourism, recreation, fishing, business, research, conservation, education and general public interests.

The photo gallery contains images which portray only a small portion of the living and physical resources of the sanctuary. In addition, it portrays some of the major uses of the sanctuary. For a more detailed description of the marvels of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary visit the Channel Islands description on the Marine Sanctuaries section of this site.


The Collection


The Living Sanctuary presents 18 photos depicting marine mammals, fish, birds, and invertebrates. Among these images are sea lions, blue sharks, dolphin, starfish, treefish, murrelets, jellyfish, bryzoans, and giant kelp to name just a few.

Habitats presents 16 photos depicting the various marine and nearshore habitats making up the sanctuary. Included in this section you will find satellite images of sea surface temperatures, photos of each of the large islands, and species which take advantage of the various physical habitats found in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

People and the Sanctuary presents 13 images depicting the many ways that human beings use the sanctuary and its adjacent areas. You will see people recreating, researching, working, and learning the important lessons that the sanctuary has to offer.

The Sustainable Seas Expeditions photos for the May - June 1999 expedition to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are not available.

The Kids Gallery for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary has no entries at this time.


NOAA logo Revised September 12, 2023 by Sanctuaries Web Group
Many links leave the National Marine Sanctuary Web Site - please view our Link Disclaimer for more information
National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | U.S. Department of Commerce | NOAA Library | Privacy Policy
Contact Us |