NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has created the Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council (BAC), the first ever program-focused advisory council. The BAC was created to provide advice and recommendations to the Director regarding the relationship of the ONMS with the ocean business community. The BAC will include representatives from travel and tourism, recreation, fishing, transportation, energy, and technology sectors, corporate foundations, and other businesses that derive profit from marine resources or have interest in marine natural and cultural resources, for a total of fifteen members.
The BAC will provide advice in the following areas:
Engaging the corporate sector and other non-traditional partners with mutual interest in marine resource protection;
Assessing and expressing the economic, social, and cultural value of national marine sanctuaries and other marine protected areas;
Leveraging the recreational and aesthetic values of national marine sanctuaries for building strong local, national, and international economies; and
Developing joint initiatives and projects with the goal of sustaining and protecting special marine places.
By engaging with and empowering the business community in the protection and management of special ocean places, we hope to show that sanctuaries are an important component of the solution to our economic and environmental challenges.
History of Advisory Councils
In 1990, the National Marine Sanctuary System established its first Sanctuary Advisory Council, to provide advice to NOAA on the preparation of a management plan for the newly designated Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. While the concept of a community-based advisory group wasn't revolutionary (the National Park Service has had advisory commissions since the 1930s), it was new for the sanctuary system and quickly led to a fundamental shift in sanctuary governance, with a radical increase in community involvement in all aspects of sanctuary management and protection. Sanctuary advisory councils were steadily created and by 2005, each of the fourteen sites in the system had one. Today over 700 members, alternates, and working group members provide advice to the ONMS through site councils, racking up nearly 21,000 hours of service in FY12 (10/1/11-9/30/12) alone. The BAC is the first national-level council.