As thousands of monarchs return to the protection of the California State Park system, a coalition of marine conservation organizations wants to remind Americans that less than one percent of the world’s ocean waters benefit from such government-administered refuges. The Less Than One media campaign is a joint effort of the conservation organization SeaWeb and the Ocean Wilderness Network, an alliance seeking to raise awareness of how human economic and recreational activities are affecting the world’s oceans. The campaign promotes the creation of protected marine reserves along the Pacific Coast, as well as enhancement of existing ones. Recent studies indicate that numerous, small, interconnected reserves benefit ocean ecosystems more effectively than larger, isolated ones. In California’s 62 state-managed marine reserves the capture, or “taking,” of fish and other wildlife is forbidden, giving these organisms an opportunity to regenerate depleted populations. Local species likely to benefit from marine reserves include harbor and elephant seals, stellar sea lions, rockfish, abalone, gray and humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, leatherback turtles, and brown pelicans. Groups such as Environmental Defense are simultaneously pushing to strengthen the national marine sanctuary program, which protects against oil and gas exploration but not commercial and recreational activities. To take part in the campaign, visit www.lessthanone.org and click “Help Now.”
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