Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
On May 24, 1989, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary was designated as the eighth sanctuary
in the nation protecting an ocean area of 399 square nautical miles (529 square miles) off the
northern California coast. The sanctuary is charged with protecting and conserving the site's
resources while allowing uses that are compatible with resource protection.
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is located entirely in federal waters and managed by the
sanctuary superintendent and staff with oversight provided by the
West Coast Regional Office
in Monterey and the
Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
in Silver Spring, Maryland. A sanctuary advisory council has been established to provide advice and
recommendations on various issues of concern throughout the sanctuary.
Acting as the federal resource trustee responsible for managing Cordell Bank National Marine
Sanctuary requires an understanding of authorizing legislation, regulations, management plans and
permitting. Following mandates and requirements of these documents ensures that these wild ocean
places will be protected for future generations.
Download the Sanctuary Designation Document
Designation Document/Notice of National Marine Sanctuary Designation/ final rule/ and summary of final management plan
The Sanctuary's Role in Resource Protection
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1989 to protect and preserve a 529 square
mile region around Cordell Bank. The sanctuary develops programs and supports initiatives that
strengthen resource protection and ensures best management practices for the long-term health of the
Cordell Bank region. Resource protection efforts include increasing ocean awareness, knowledge, and
stewardship, monitoring ocean conditions, conducting research to better understand ocean processes,
and enforcing sanctuary regulations. The sanctuary works closely with enforcement partners to
protect water quality, ocean habitat, and biological diversity. Cordell Bank National Marine
Sanctuary completed its first management plan review in 2009 that established the foundation for
resource protection in the sanctuary.
for a list of priority management issues facing CBNMS and the science and information needed to
address these issues. The purpose of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) Science
Needs Assessment is to provide targeted information on the science requirements of the ONMS
based on the management issues defined in the
Sanctuary Management Plan
and Sanctuary Condition Report
The assessments guide CBNMS science activities and assist in communicating science needs to
potential partners and interested organizations and individuals.