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Local Nonprofit Partners with Businesses to Showcase Marine Protected Areas

The Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is trying to raise awareness about an ecotourist destination that many locals don’t even know about.

The nonprofit is teaming up with local businesses to take scuba divers to local marine protected areas or MPA’s.

In 2012, California completed the nation’s first statewide network of MPAs which are designed to ensure healthy, vibrant ocean life for generations to come.

Five new MPAs were established along the Santa Barbara County coast, from Point Conception to the Goleta Slough.

There are 18 in the Santa Barbara Channel.

The Channelkeeper, along with Truth Aquatics, took a group of scuba divers out to explore the Naples reef, just a few miles west of Goleta.

The Channelkeeper says these scuba trips are not just about transporting people to these hard-to-reach ocean treasures.

It’s also about promoting marine conservation and boosting local ecotourism.

“They say over 25,000 jobs in Santa Barbara County alone rely on coastal tourism. We think it’s important to do what we can to raise awareness about these places and build a sense of marine stewardship,” said Ben Pitterle, of the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper.

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