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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Contact:

Lance Morgan Lance.Morgan@marine-conservation.org, 707-217-8242 (cell)

Mike Gravitz Michael.Gravitz@marine-conservation.org, 301-351-5052 (cell)


[Glen Ellen, CA] Suffering the impacts of climate change intensified fires, ocean warming, drought, and species loss, today California joined 38 countries around the world in setting a goal of protecting 30% of its lands and waters by 2030 to help deal with the twin crises of climate change and loss of biodiversity. Known as “30 by 30”, this policy was adopted today by Governor Gavin Newsom of California in an Executive Order.

Environmental groups and religious leaders around the state and US praised Governor Newsom’s directive as visionary and a critical response to the growing impacts of climate change. Through its groundbreaking Marine Life Protection Act, California already protects 8.7% of its waters in a network of strongly protected marine reserves according to Marine Conservation Institute’s Sea States report. Combining these areas with less restrictive conservation areas brings the state’s overall protection of its coastal waters to roughly 16%.

Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute, said about this new California state policy, “Thank you, Governor Newsom for continuing the kind of bold conservation leadership that California is so well known for. Recent massive fires, ocean heat blobs, and lengthy droughts all make it necessary to use nature-based solutions like protected areas to slow and reverse the impacts of climate change and loss of biodiversity in California.

He added, “California has opportunities to protect more of its state waters, including new marine sanctuaries like the Chumash Heritage proposal. But the largest opportunity might be in federal waters off the California coast. Over 60 seamounts, underwater mountains and plateaus, need protection from bottom trawling, offshore oil and gas drilling, and other extractive activities. Our campaign to Protect the California Seamounts would add important special places in the ocean to any 30 by 30 plan.”

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About Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute, founded in 1996, works in the U.S. and globally to seek strong protection for at least 30% of the ocean by 2030—for us and future generations. Our focus on protecting the ocean’s most important places follows several lines of work: identifying and advocating for strong marine protected areas; improving laws and other tools to better conserve marine biodiversity; catalyzing effective conservation by recognizing and elevating the best marine protected areas as Blue Parks; and accurately reporting on conservation efforts with our Marine Protection Atlas (MPAtlas.org).