Regulations and Restrictions
Sanctuary Regulations | Who Regulates What?
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary regulations are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations at Title 15, Sections 922.71 through 922.74. A reprint of these regulations appears below.
PART 922—NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY PROGRAM REGULATIONS
§ 922.70 Boundary.
The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary) consists of an area of approximately 1,110 square nautical miles (nmi) of coastal and ocean waters, and the submerged lands thereunder, off the southern coast of California. The Sanctuary boundary begins at the Mean High Water Line of and extends seaward to a distance of approximately six (nmi) from the following islands and offshore rocks: San Miguel Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, Richardson Rock, and Castle Rock (the Islands). The seaward boundary coordinates are listed
in Appendix A to this subpart.
§ 922.71 Definitions.
In addition to those definitions found at 15 CFR 922.3, the following definitions apply to this subpart:
Cruise ship means a vessel with 250 or more passenger berths for hire.
Graywater means galley, bath, or shower water.
Introduced species means any species (including but not limited to any of its biological matter capable of propagation) that is non-native to the ecosystems of the Sanctuary; or any organism into which altered genetic matter, or genetic matter from another species, has been transferred in order that the host organism acquires the genetic traits of the transferred genes.
Motorized personal watercraft means a vessel, usually less than 16 feet in length, which uses an inboard, internal combustion engine powering a water jet pump as its primary source of propulsion. The vessel is intended to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing or kneeling on the vessel, rather than within the confines of the hull. The length is measured from end to end over the deck excluding sheer, meaning a straight line measurement of the overall length from the foremost part of the vessel to the aftermost part of the vessel, measured parallel to the centerline. Bow sprits, bumpkins, rudders, outboard motor brackets, and similar fittings or attachments, are not included in the measurement. Length is stated in feet and inches.
Oceangoing ship means a private, commercial, government, or military vessel of 300 gross registered tons or more, not including cruise ships.
Pelagic finfish are defined as: Northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax), barracudas (Sphyraena spp.), billfishes (family Istiophoridae), dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus), Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi), jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus), Pacific
mackerel (Scomber japonicus), salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax), blue shark (Prionace glauca), salmon shark (Lamna ditropis), shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), thresher sharks (Alopias spp.), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), tunas (family Scombridae), and yellowtail (Seriola lalandi).
Stowed and not available for immediate use means not readily accessible for immediate use, e.g., by being securely covered and lashed to a deck or bulkhead, tied down, unbaited, unloaded, or partially disassembled (such as spear shafts being kept separate from spear guns)
§ 922.72 Prohibited or otherwise regulated activities—Sanctuary-wide.
(a) Except as specified in paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section, the following activities are prohibited and thus unlawful for any person to conduct or cause to be conducted:
(1) Exploring for, developing, or producing hydrocarbons within the Sanctuary, except pursuant to leases executed prior to March 30, 1981, and except the laying of pipeline pursuant to exploring for, developing, or producing hydrocarbons.
(2) Exploring for, developing, or producing minerals within the Sanctuary, except producing byproducts incidental to hydrocarbon production allowed by paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
(3)(i) Discharging or depositing from within or into the Sanctuary any material or other matter except:
(A) Fish, fish parts, or chumming materials (bait) used in or resulting from lawful fishing activity within the Sanctuary, provided that such discharge or deposit is during the conduct of lawful fishing activity within the Sanctuary;
(B) For a vessel less than 300 gross registered tons (GRT), or an oceangoing ship without sufficient holding tank capacity to hold sewage while within the Sanctuary, biodegradable effluent generated incidental to vessel use by an operable Type I or II marine sanitation device (U.S. Coast Guard classification) approved in accordance with section 312 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended, (FWPCA), 33 U.S.C. 1321 et seq. Vessel operators must lock all marine sanitation devices in a manner that prevents discharge or deposit of untreated sewage;
(C) Biodegradable matter from:
(1) Vessel deck wash down;
(2) Vessel engine cooling water;
(3) Graywater from a vessel less than 300 gross registered tons;
(4) Graywater from an oceangoing ship without sufficient holding tank capacity to hold graywater while within the Sanctuary;
(D) Vessel engine or generator exhaust;
(E) Effluent routinely and necessarily discharged or deposited incidental to hydrocarbon exploration, development, or production allowed by paragraph (a)(1) of this section; or
(F) Discharge allowed under section 312(n) of the FWPCA.
(ii) Discharging or depositing from beyond the boundary of the Sanctuary any material or other matter that subsequently enters the Sanctuary and injures a Sanctuary resource or quality, except those listed in paragraphs (a)(3)(i)(B) through (F) of this section and fish, fish parts, or chumming materials (bait) used in or resulting from lawful fishing activity beyond the boundary of the Sanctuary, provided that such discharge or deposit is during the conduct of lawful fishing activity there.
(4) Drilling into, dredging, or otherwise altering the submerged lands of the Sanctuary; or constructing or placing any structure, material, or other matter on or in the submerged lands of the Sanctuary, except as incidental to and necessary to:
(i) Anchor a vessel;
(ii) Install an authorized navigational aid;
(iii) Conduct lawful fishing activity;
(iv) Lay pipeline pursuant to exploring for, developing, or producing hydrocarbons; or
(v) Explore for, develop, or produce hydrocarbons as allowed by paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
(5) Abandoning any structure, material, or other matter on or in the submerged lands of the Sanctuary.
(6) Except to transport persons or supplies to or from any Island, operating within one nmi of any Island any vessel engaged in the trade of carrying cargo, including, but not limited to, tankers and other bulk carriers and barges, any vessel engaged in the trade of servicing offshore installations, or any vessel of three hundred gross registered tons or more, except fishing or kelp harvesting vessels.
(7) Disturbing a seabird or marine mammal by flying a motorized aircraft at less than 1,000 feet over the waters within one nmi of any Island, except To engage in kelp bed surveys; or to transport persons or supplies to or from an Island. Failure to maintain a minimum altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level over such waters is presumed to disturb marine mammals or seabirds.
(8) Moving, removing, injuring, or possessing, or attempting to move, remove, injure, or possess a Sanctuary historical resource.
(9) Taking any marine mammal, sea turtle, or seabird within or above the Sanctuary, except as authorized by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as amended, (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., Endangered Species Act, as amended, (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as amended, (MBTA), 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq., or any regulation, as amended, promulgated under the MMPA, ESA, or MBTA.
(10) Possessing within the Sanctuary (regardless of where taken from, moved, or removed from) any marine mammal, sea turtle, or seabird, except as authorized by the MMPA, ESA, MBTA, or any regulation, as amended, promulgated under the MMPA, ESA, or MBTA.
(11) Marking, defacing, damaging, moving, removing, or tampering with any sign, notice, or placard, whether temporary or permanent, or any monument, stake, post, or other boundary marker related to the Sanctuary.
(12) Introducing or otherwise releasing from within or into the Sanctuary an introduced species, except striped bass (Morone saxatilis) released during catch and release fishing activity.
(13) Operating a motorized personal watercraft within waters of the Sanctuary that are coextensive with the Channel Islands National Park, established by 16 U.S.C. 410(ff).
(b) (1) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(3) through (13) of this section and in § 922.73 do not apply to military activities carried out by DOD as of the effective date of these regulations and specifically identified in section 3.5.9 (Department of Defense Activities) of the Final Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (FMP/FEIS), Volume II: Environmental Impact Statement, 2008, authored and published by NOAA (‘‘pre-existing activities’’). Copies of the document are available from the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, 113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109. Other military activities carried out by DOD may be exempted by the Director after consultation between the Director and DOD.
(2) A military activity carried out by DOD as of the effective date of these regulations and specifically identified in the section entitled ‘‘Department of Defense Activities’’ of the FMP/FEIS is not considered a pre-existing activity if:
(i) It is modified in such a way that requires the preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., relevant to a Sanctuary resource or quality;
(ii) It is modified, including but not limited to changes in location or frequency, in such a way that its possible adverse effects on Sanctuary resources or qualities are significantly greater than previously considered for the unmodified activity;
(iii) It is modified, including but not limited to changes in location or frequency, in such a way that its possible adverse effects on Sanctuary resources or qualities are significantly different in manner than previously considered for the unmodified
(iv) There are new circumstances or information relevant to a Sanctuary resource or quality that were not addressed in the FMP/FEIS.
(3) In the event of destruction of, loss of, or injury to a Sanctuary resource or quality resulting from an incident, including, but not limited to, discharges, deposits, and groundings, caused by a DOD activity, DOD, in coordination with the Director, must promptly prevent and mitigate further damage and must restore or replace the Sanctuary resource or quality in a manner approved by the Director.
(4) All DOD activities must be carried out in a manner that avoids to the maximum extent practicable any adverse impacts on Sanctuary resources and qualities.
(c) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(3) through (10), (a)(12), and (a)(13) of this section and in § 922.73 do not apply to any activity conducted under and in accordance with the scope, purpose, terms, and conditions of a National Marine Sanctuary permit issued pursuant to 15 CFR 922.48 and 922.74.
(d) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(3) through (11) and (a)(13) of this section and in § 922.73 do not apply to any activity necessary to respond to an emergency threatening life, property, or the environment.
(e) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(3) through (11) and (a)(13) of this section and in § 922.73 do not apply to any activity necessary for valid law enforcement purposes in the Sanctuary.§ 922.73
Additional prohibited or otherwise regulated activities—marine
reserves and marine conservation area.
(a) Marine reserves. Unless prohibited by 50 CFR part 660 (Fisheries off West Coast States), the following activities are prohibited and thus unlawful for any person to conduct or cause to be conducted within a marine reserve described in Appendix B to this subpart, except as specified in paragraphs (b) through (e) of § 922.72:
(1) Harvesting, removing, taking, injuring, destroying, collecting, moving, or causing the loss of any Sanctuary resource, or attempting any of these activities.
(2) Possessing fishing gear on board a vessel unless such gear is stowed and not available for immediate use.
(3) Possessing any Sanctuary resource, except legally harvested fish on board a vessel at anchor or in transit.
(b) Marine conservation area. Unless prohibited by 50 CFR part 660 (Fisheries off West Coast States), the following activities are prohibited and thus unlawful for any person to conduct or cause to be conducted within the marine conservation area described in Appendix C to this subpart, except as specified in paragraphs (b) through (e) of § 922.72:
(1) Harvesting, removing, taking, injuring, destroying, collecting, moving, or causing the loss of any Sanctuary resource, or attempting any of these activities, except:
(i) Recreational fishing for pelagic finfish; or
(ii) Commercial and recreational fishing for lobster.
(2) Possessing fishing gear on board a vessel, except legal fishing gear used to fish for lobster or pelagic finfish, unless such gear is stowed and not available for immediate use.
(3) Possessing any Sanctuary resource, except legally harvested fish.
§ 922.74 Permit procedures and issuance criteria.
(a) A person may conduct an activity prohibited by § 922.72(a)(3) through (10), (a)(12), and (a)(13), and § 922.73, if such activity is specifically authorized by, and conducted in accordance with the scope, purpose, terms, and conditions of, a permit issued under § 922.48 and this section.
(b) The Director, at his or her sole discretion, may issue a permit, subject to terms and conditions as he or she deems appropriate, to conduct an activity prohibited by § 922.72(a)(3) through (10), (a)(12), and (a)(13), and § 922.73, if the Director finds that the activity:
(1) Is appropriate research designed to further understanding of Sanctuary resources and qualities;
(2) Will further the educational value of the Sanctuary;
(3) Will further salvage or recovery operations in or near the Sanctuary in connection with a recent air or marine casualty;
(4) Will assist in managing the Sanctuary; or
(5) Will further salvage or recovery operations in connection with an abandoned shipwreck in the Sanctuary title to which is held by the State of California.
(c) The Director may not issue a permit under § 922.48 and this section unless the Director also finds that:
(1) The proposed activity will have at most short-term and negligible adverse effects on Sanctuary resources and qualities;
(2) The applicant is professionally qualified to conduct and complete the proposed activity;
(3) The applicant has adequate financial resources available to conduct and complete the proposed activity;
(4) The duration of the proposed activity is no longer than necessary to achieve its stated purpose;
(5) The methods and procedures proposed by the applicant are appropriate to achieve the goals of the proposed activity, especially in relation to the potential effects of the proposed activity on Sanctuary resources and qualities;
(6) The proposed activity will be conducted in a manner compatible with the primary objective of protection of Sanctuary resources and qualities, considering the extent to which the conduct of the activity may diminish or enhance Sanctuary resources and qualities, any potential indirect, secondary, or cumulative effects of the activity, and the duration of such effects;
(7) The proposed activity will be conducted in a manner compatible with the value of the Sanctuary as a source of recreation and as a source of educational and scientific information, considering the extent to which the conduct of the activity may result in conflicts between different users of the Sanctuary and the duration of such effects;
(8) It is necessary to conduct the proposed activity within the Sanctuary;
(9) The reasonably expected end value of the proposed activity furthers Sanctuary goals and purposes and outweighs any potential adverse effects on Sanctuary resources and qualities from the conduct of the activity; and
(10) Any other matters the Director deems appropriate do not make the issuance of a permit for the proposed activity inappropriate.
(1) Applications for permits should be addressed to the Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; ATTN: Manager, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, 113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109.
(2) In addition to the information listed in § 922.48(b), all applications must include information the Director needs to make the findings in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.
(e) In addition to any other terms and conditions that the Director deems appropriate, a permit issued pursuant to this section must require that the permittee agree to hold the United States harmless against any claims arising out of the conduct of the permitted activities.
Within the Sanctuary...Who Regulates What?
The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) was designated on September 22, 1980 to protect the area’s nationally significant cultural and natural resources. Administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the sanctuary encompasses the waters surrounding the northern Channel Islands and Santa Barbara Island from high tide to six nautical miles offshore. The sanctuary includes approximately 1,470 square miles (or 1,110 square nautical miles). The sanctuary includes the entire three miles (0 to 3 nautical miles from island shores) of California state waters plus an approximate equal distance of Federal waters (3 to 6 nautical miles from island shores). The CINMS completely surrounds the Channel Islands National Park. Click here to see a map of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is an area of multiple uses. The harvesting of kelp, fish and invertebrates is permitted in most areas within the sanctuary outside of marine reserves and conservation areas. NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries emphasizes the protection of special marine areas for the long-term benefit and enjoyment of the public. Sanctuary management focuses on coordination and implementation of research, monitoring, education, outreach, volunteer, and enforcement programs that enhance cultural and natural resource protection. To further promote comprehensive protection of sanctuary resources, NOAA has also developed cooperative agreements, interagency agreements and memorandums of understanding with several regulatory agencies.
Sanctuary regulations are listed above, and are authorized pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. A summary of rules and regulations affecting the Channel Islands can be found in the brochure Protecting your Channel Islands pdf (3MB).
Other agencies that have management responsibility and regulations:
CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK
The National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for managing the Channel Islands National Park which includes the northern Channel Islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa) and Santa Barbara Island. The NPS has administrative jurisdiction that includes a one nautical mile marine boundary area around the islands. Through a cooperative agreement with the sanctuary the NPS has assumed additional responsibilities in the CINMS relating to research, resource protection, and enforcement.
Contact: Channel Islands National Park, 1901 Spinnaker Drive,
Ventura CA 93001 (805) 658-5700.
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
The Nature Conservancy, which owns 76% of Santa Cruz Island, is a national, private, nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of the island. Landing on the island is by permit only.
Contact: The Nature Conservancy
Santa Cruz Island Preserve
532 E. Main Street, Suite 200
Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: (805) 642-0345
Fax: (805) 642-0342
Island Staff Voicemail: (805) 488-8840
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
The California Department of Fish & Wildlife is responsible for the management of living marine resources in the sanctuary from mean high tide to three nautical miles offshore. State management is aimed at the conservation, maintenance, and utilization of living marine resources, and includes management responsibility (implemented jointly with CINMS) for the network of state marine protected areas within the sanctuary. A primary management vehicle is the dissemination and enforcement of California commercial and sport fishing regulations which are updated periodically by the Fish & Wildlife Commission. Fishing in the sanctuary requires a state license.
Contact: California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Marine Resources Division, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 653-6281.
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
The U.S. Coast Guard’s diverse missions include homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection, spill response, migrant interdiction, fisheries enforcement, drug interdiction, national defense, aids to navigation, and more. As the nation’s primary maritime law enforcement agency, the Coast Guard has broad responsibility for enforcing all federal laws and regulations throughout the Sanctuary, and assists NOAA in the enforcement of CINMS regulations.
Contact: United States Coast Guard, 111 Harbor Way,
Santa Barbara, CA 93109 (805) 962-7430.
NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), in conjunction with state resource agencies (such as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife) approves and enforces Fishery Management Plans prepared by regional fishery management councils under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). NMFS also shares responsibility with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, both of which prevent the taking of any endangered, threatened, or otherwise depleted species.
Contact: NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Region,
501 W. Ocean Blvd, Suite 4200, Long Beach, California 90802.
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) works to conserve, protect, and enhance fish (freshwater species), wildlife, and plants and their habitats. USFWS shares responsibility with NOAA Fisheries for implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act (USFWS is responsible for managing sea otters, walruses and brown pelicans; NOAA Fisheries is responsible for all other marine mammals).