National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Celebrates Advancement of Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary Designation

Silver Spring, Md. – August 25, 2023 – The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation released the following statement from President and CEO Joel R. Johnson: 

“Designating Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary is a transformational moment for our coastal California waters and all stewards of our shared ocean. This indigenous-led nomination advances ocean justice and equity by protecting ancestral waters and giving everyone the opportunity to learn from the Central Coast Tribes’ traditional knowledge and ways of stewarding cultural and marine resources.

The proposed sanctuary would also close a biodiversity protection gap along the California coast. Blue whales, leatherback sea turtles, black abalone and southern sea otters are just a few of the species gaining new habitat protection. People will benefit in many ways too, the proposed sanctuary is also a nursery for fish species we rely on commercially too.

We applaud NOAA and the Administration for advancing this sanctuary nomination and we encourage final designation of these magnificent ancestral waters.”


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications