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October 23, 2000

Chancellor Greenwood, Commerce Secretary Mineta, and others dedicate new federal marine fisheries laboratory

By Tim Stephens

Chancellor Greenwood, Congressman Sam Farr, and Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta joined to dedicate the new National Marine Fisheries Service lab in Santa Cruz.
Photo: Victor Schiffrin
U.S. Commerce Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, along with Chancellor Greenwood and Congressman Sam Farr, last week dedicated a new federal marine research facility located next to Long Marine Laboratory.

The dedication of the National Marine Fisheries Service Santa Cruz Laboratory on October 17 included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a reception at the Seymour Center.

The new lab will, in addition to conducting fisheries research, house the nation's first National Science Center for Marine Protected Areas.

"Our oceans are indispensable lifelines from both environmental and economic perspectives and require first-class research to ensure their health," Mineta said. "This laboratory will provide researchers with the critical tools they need to help shape the future of our oceans."

The state-of-the-art laboratory joins a growing community of marine research and education facilities at the Long Marine Lab site and in the Monterey Bay region. Other facilities on the site, in addition to Long Marine Lab, include a Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center (California Department of Fish and Game) and the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. UCSC's Center for Ocean Health and a Seabird/Raptor Facility are currently under construction.

"I am delighted to welcome our new neighbor and our newest partner in marine reseach," Greenwood said. "The new NOAA Fisheries facility, with its distinguished scientists, is a major addition to the unique consortium of leading ocean sciences organizations in the Monterey Bay Area."

There are now 21 marine science institutions or agency programs based in the Monterey Bay region, employing nearly 1,850 scientists and support staff and with a collective annual budget of nearly $150 million. The $19.4 million fisheries laboratory replaces obsolete lab facilities in Tiburon.

The mission of the new laboratory is to conduct research and produce scientific information and data to support conservation and management of marine fisheries and essential fish habitat. Laboratory scientists focus on a wide variety of field and laboratory studies in the Pacific Ocean off central and northern California and in coastal salmon streams. The environmental research will focus on the nearshore waters along the central California coast and San Francisco Bay and will provide a scientific basis for future management decisions.

Commerce Secretary Mineta used the occasion of the dedication ceremony to advocate a national emphasis on ocean stewardship.

"One of my top priorities is protecting the oceans and learning all that we can about them. With this stewardship comes important collaborations such as this one that will open doors to new partnerships to help us protect and restore our oceans for generations to come," Mineta said.

Mineta also announced the lab's additional role as the home of the new National Science Center for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

"Born out of President Clinton's Executive Order earlier this spring to enhance existing and newly established MPAs for protection and conservation for our coastal and marine resources, this center will be the focal point of our efforts," Secretary Mineta said.

MPAs are major management tools for protecting, restoring, and enjoying coastal and marine resources in the United States and internationally. The national MPA initiative calls for the creation of a comprehensive system of marine protected areas designed to conserve and study representative habitats of all our nation's marine ecosystems.

"There isn't a better place to locate the MPA Science Center than Santa Cruz," said Congressman Sam Farr, who has helped make the new fisheries lab a reality. "We have the best scientists; we have the most up-to-date equipment and a brand new laboratory; we have the grandest doorway to the oceans of anywhere on the planet. This is where it all happens."

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