• Ocean Zoning in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Part III

    In response to NOAA’s proposal to establish a national system of MPA’s, CRE informed NOAA that:

    “Due to the lack of institutional guidance and transparency for the National System, this comment presents three recommendations.

    First, the National System should adopt a procedural framework similar to the NMSA (National Marine Sanctuaries Act), because the NMSA provides the well-defined procedures necessary for an effective National System of MPAs. (Note NMSA was chosen as one example because it had well defined standards for inclusion in a system of national sanctuaries whereas the national system of MPA’s had no such criteria.)

    Second, the language which implements Section 5 of Executive Order 13158 must be clarified and revised to restrict the “avoid harm” requirement to only those MPAs created pursuant to federal statutes like the NMSA.

    Third, NOAA should document on its website that it will not use or rely on any MPA data until NOAA determines that the data comply with NOAA’s  Data (Information)  Quality Act (IQA) guidelines.

    Until these recommendations are implemented, we cannot concur with the list of sites selected for nomination.”


    NOAA’s reaction to one of CRE’s recommendations is as follows:

    “Regarding the recommendation that the nomination process should mirror the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA), the agencies contend that the NMSA should not be the model for nominations to the national system for the following reasons:

    (1) The national system is charged with working to coordinate diverse MPAs across all levels of governments. These sites and programs have diverse authorities, and it is inappropriate to impose the requirements of one federal MPA program (e.g. the NMSA) on other federal, state, and territorial MPA programs, which have their own legal authorities, processes and purposes;

    (2) The procedural elements for the NMSA are focused on the designation of new MPAs, while the nomination process for national system of MPAs is focused on the admission of existing MPAs into the national system for the purposes of enhanced coordination, recognition and stewardship and

    (3) The NMSA’s extensive procedural requirements for sanctuary designation (including public involvement and interagency consultation) are not warranted for inclusion of a site in the national system of MPAs since that action has no regulatory impact or potential to restrict human uses of that site.”

    See the attachment hereto for CRE’s comments to NOAA on its National System for Marine Protected Areas

    Clearly CRE will have to initiate more forceful actions if it is going to be able to get NOAA to comply with existing law.

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