We are at a crossroads regarding responsible protection of our oceans. In a word, our oceans are in danger of dying in the not-too-distant future unless we take action. We as a coastal community can do our part by supporting establishment of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary proposed off our Central Coast.
We are graced with some of the most beautiful shoreline in the world. The past few months we have been watching a breathtaking display of whales, dolphins, aquatic birds and other marine life. We need to take action to preserve this for future generations.
National marine sanctuaries are not only good for the environment, they also stimulate the economy. Restaurants, hotels, aquariums, boat tours, kayak operators, sport fishing, surfing and other forms of aquatic tourist activities all benefit from a clean and healthy ocean.
It is estimated the marine sanctuaries in the United States generate $4 billion annually.
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Marine sanctuaries also are designed to protect against over-fishing; studies show depleted fish populations have increased in protected areas.
It is imperative we act now. There already are pressures to open our coast to offshore oil and gas development. Look no farther south than Santa Barbara to see the potential impacts from damaged pipelines.
If you would like more information, go to ChumashSanctuary.com. The time is now.