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Channel Islands


Most of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, and the Channel Islands are right next to one of the world's largest population centers, lying less than 25 miles offshore from Los Angeles County. Despite the proximity of the burgeoning southern California population, the 5 northern Channel Islands are relatively undeveloped. Instead, the islands, and the surrounding waters are home to a rich and vibrant marine community and fertile fishing grounds and also contain many important submerged archeological and cultural resources, some of which are over 10,000 years old.

The combination of warm currents from Baja California and cool currents from the north produces highly productive coastal waters which result in a great variety of plants an animals. The area is home to large nearshore forests of giant kelp, abundant and diverse populations of cetaceans, seals, sea lions and seabirds. The Channel Islands encompass a diversity of habitats such as kelp forest, rocky intertidal, sandy beach, seagrass meadow, deep rocky reef and open water habitats. However, once abundant species such as rockfish and abalone are now at very low population levels, and the Channel Islands region is one of the first in the world to develop an ecological network of marine protected areas to help protect and conserve these species. These areas selected through a scientific-based analysis with input from resources users and conservationists. In total, nearly 20 percent of state waters around the islands are closed to all resource extraction in order to restore and maintain healthy marine populations.



Cultural Importance
Ecological Uniqueness
Protected Areas



Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands Photo Gallery
Channel Islands – Encyclopedia of the Sanctuary
Channel Islands on Wikipedia
Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Channel Islands MPAs - in state waters



Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Video Gallery




Vido Clips From Channel Islands Harbor




Channel Islands - Stock Footage

Garibaldi, California's state fish. Photo: NOAA- CINMS

California sea lion. Photo: NOAA, Glenn Allen

Blood Star. Photo: NOAA, Laura Francis