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Growth of California marine sanctuaries proposed

Published On: Apr 14 2014 04:59:06 PM CDT
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -

Federal officials are proposing to more than double the size of two marine sanctuaries off the Northern California coast, a move that would restrict the movements of cargo ships, aircraft and jet skis and close the areas to oil and gas exploration.

The plan announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday would expand the boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary by 2,771 square miles from Bodega Bay in Sonoma County to a point just north of Point Arena in Mendocino County.

The ocean refuges, designated as marine sanctuaries in 1981 and 1989, currently cover 2,049 square miles.

NOAA officials say the expansion is needed to protect whales, sharks, salmon and seabirds that feed within the two regions.