Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
2009 Condition Report

Photo of a seal pup

Concluding Remarks

This condition report is the first attempt to describe the relationship between human pressures and the status and trends of resources within Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. By doing so, this report helps to identify the pressures and their impacts on marine ecosystems that may warrant monitoring and remediation in the years to come. Some of the most prominent anthropogenic pressures, including vessel traffic, commercial and recreational fishing, agricultural and urban runoff, harmful algal blooms, coastal development, and the introduction of non-indigenous species, have reduced, to varying extents, the quality of resources in the sanctuary.

Sanctuary staff is actively involved in a wide variety of environmental protection activities due to the many pressures occurring over an extremely large portion of the California coast. Some approaches to management rely on existing sanctuary regulations and staff actions, but most require coordination with the many local, state, and federal agencies with jurisdictions over resources in the area, and with the users directly affected by agency decisions. Sanctuary management, policy, research, education, and outreach staff will continue to work aggressively to implement the action plans recently developed during the process to create the joint management plan for the Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Cordell Bank sanctuaries. These action plans direct the day-to-day activities of sanctuary staff, as well as the coordination needs that encourage cooperation among trustees and users.

However, while the sanctuary continues to build trust and make progress by working with partners and constituents, considerable challenges lie ahead. Emerging pressures and threats, including offshore energy generation, emerging contaminants (e.g., PBDE flame retardants, anti-fouling compounds), and climate change, could all affect sanctuary resources in complex ways.

Management of these pressures will require even more comprehensive approaches that go beyond the jurisdictions within which the sanctuary currently operates. The sanctuary is poised to be actively and effectively involved in addressing emerging issues, applying the lessons it has learned in central California to tackle even more complex challenges affecting the balance between human and natural systems in the ocean environment.


Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary would like to acknowledge the assistance and efforts of subject area experts who, by attending a workshop, provided responses to questions that guided drafting of the "State of Sanctuary Resources" section of the report: Mary Adams (SWRCB), Dr. Jim Barry (MBARI), Dr. Mark Carr (UCSC/PISCO), Chris Coburn (SC County Water Resources), Dr. Guy Cochrane (USGS), Dr. Don Croll (UCSC/CIMT), Dr. Mary Gleason (The Nature Conservancy), Dane Hardin (Applied Marine Sciences), Bridget Hoover (MBNMS), Dr. Dave Jessup (Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center), Dr. Judith Kildow (MBARI), Dr. Raphael Kudela (UCSC), Dr. James Lindholm (CSUMB), Dr. Marc Los Huertos (CSUMB), Scott Lucas (CDFG), Dr. Tim Pennington (MBARI), Dr. Peter Raimondi (UCSC/PISCO/MARINe), Dr. Steve Ralston (NMFS-SWFSC), Jan Roletto (GFNMS), Bob Schwemmer (CINMS), Travis Tanaka (CDFG), Bruce Terrell (ONMS), Tim Thomas (Monterey Maritime Museum), and Dr. Kerstin Wasson (ESNERR).

The report benefited significantly from the following individuals who either provided a preliminary review of the report or provided comments and/or data: Josh Adams (USGS), Dr. Gary Breschini (Coyote Press), Dr. Greg Cailliet (MLML), Steve Choy (MBNMS), Sophie De Beukelaer (MBNMS), Lisa de Marignac (MBNMS), Brad Damitz (MBNMS), Mike Eng (MBNMS), Dr. John Field (NMFS-SWFSC), Andrew Fischer (MBARI), Megan Forbes (NOAA Marine Debris Program), Dr. Karin Forney (NMFS-SWFSC), Dr. Gary Griggs (UCSC), Dr. Ian Hartwell (NOAA), Dr. Kimberly Heiman (ESNERR), Bridget Hoover (MBNMS), Dr. John Hunt (UC Davis), Dr. Rozalind Jester (UCSC), Scott Kathey (MBNMS), Scott Kimura (Tenera Environmental), Chad King (MBNMS), Bob Leos (CDFG), Dave Lott (ONMS-West Coast Region), Janet Mason (NMFS-SWFSC), Hannah Nevins (MLML), Brian Owens (CDFG), Elizabeth Phillips (MLML), Paul Reilly (CDFG), Dr. John Ryan (MBARI), Dr. G. Jason Smith (MLML), Dr. Curt Storlazzi (USGS), Eric Van Dyke (ESNERR), Jason Vasques (CDFG), Diana Watters (NMFS-SWFSC), Deirdre Whalen (MBNMS), and Mary Yoklavich (NMFS-SWFSC). We are also grateful to NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service for collective comments on a draft version of this report.

Finally, our sincere thanks are extended to the peer reviewers of this document: Dr. Chris Harrold (Monterey Bay Aquarium), Dr. Rikk Kvitek (California State University Monterey Bay), and Karen Worcester (State Water Resources Control Board).