After several years on the table, the draft management plan for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary was released this week. The several-thousand-page document – an update of the 1983 management plan – outlined 10 specific courses of action to protect the 1,200-square-nautical-mile preserve surrounding the five Channel Islands. Plans include education outreach programs, laws against nonnative species introduction, oil drilling bans, and multi-agency preparations and protocol for water-quality control. Of particular note to local fishermen is the lack of any specific language in the draft calling for an extension of the sanctuary size. However, sanctuary officials said that additional marine preserves are a possibility if and when funding is secured. A public comment hearing on the proposed management plan is scheduled for early next month in Santa Barbara.

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