KCBS_740MONTEREY (KCBS) — Yosemite and the north coast redwoods already are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and now marine scientists want a slice of the pacific ocean to share that global prestige.

Combine the Monterey Bay, Cordell Bank and Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries – the ecosystems that thrive on the California current – and you have what Stanford scientist Barbara Block describes as one of the world’s greatest natural history collections and places to view marine life.

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“This place has a collective interest to all of humanity national level have already stated its importance this takes it to the international community like the Galapagos and Great Barrier Reef we’ve got one of the special places on the planet,” Block told KCBS.

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U.S. officials are nominating the waters off the central California coast for UNESCO World Heritage status, a process that takes a couple of years. If successful, Block says it would bring recognition, not regulation.

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“These sites have to be well managed. We think we have all the ingredients,” Block said.