Off the coast of California lie four “Yosemites of the Sea” where whales, porpoises, sea lions, dolphins, and an abundance of marine life roam. The Bay Area is home to three contiguous National Marine Sanctuaries—the Cordell Bank, Monterey Bay and the Gulf of the Farallones. Together with the Channel Islands Sanctuary near Santa Barbara, and dozens of State Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), California’s coast provides vital feeding and migratory areas for endangered whales, and is also home to a rich biodiversity of marine life.
Global shipping has tripled in the past 50 years – with a fleet of more than 97,000 vessels transiting the globe today. As such, the Bay Area and California’s coastal waters are experiencing rapidly increasing shipping traffic with thousands of oil tankers, container and cargo ships frequenting our busy ports annually. Largely unregulated, shipping traffic poses a wide range of threats to the ecosystems and wildlife these sanctuaries were designed to protect; including the hazard of oil spills, the burning of dirty fuels that emit significant air pollutants and greenhouse gases, relentless noise pollution, and the premature death of whales due to ship strikes.
Pacific Environment works to protect whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife from human-made ocean noise and other shipping impacts in our marine sanctuaries off the coast of California.