Survey slams Oregon's commitment to ocean protections

Just 1 percent of Oregon's oceanfront is considered

Just 1 percent of Oregon's oceanfront is considered "no-take" areas that accommodate marine life, according to a new report.

A ranking of the way ocean-based states seek to protect their coastal waters suggests Oregon can make a few environmental tweaks.

A report released Wednesday by Environment Oregon, the Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue indicates that Oregon ranks sixth in terms of its number of “no-take” marine protected areas. Less than 1 percent of the state’s oceanfront consists of no-take areas.

Hawaii has the most such no-take areas, with 22.9 percent of the state’s oceanfront protected. California is second with 8.7 percent.

Oregon is one of 15 oceanfront states logging 1 percent or fewer worth of no-take areas.

“Despite the stunning views off of Oregon’s coast and glimpses of whales and sea otters that so many of us love, Oregon is only ranked sixth for ocean protection,” said Sarah Higginbotham, Environment Oregon’s state director, in a statement. “While we applaud the great steps Oregon has taken to protect the Pacific in recent years, only 0.31 percent of our coastal waters are currently protected by no-take marine protected areas.”

The no-take areas are defined as spaces that are free from fishing, oil drilling and other “extractive uses.”

Oregon does have six no-take areas and recently approved a territorial sea plan devised to find spots that accommodate both ocean wave energy sites and the state’s sport fishing industry.

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