A Rose By Any Other Name: Increasing Sanctuary Protection to New Areas
In January 2009, Rose Atoll Marine National Monument was established by Presidential Proclamation. The marine environment has an unusually high abundance of crustose coralline algae in its crystal clear waters, a key component of a healthy coral reef ecosystem. The marine portions of Rose Atoll Marine National Monument are undergoing a process now to be added to Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary. As Rose Atoll and other parts of the territory are added to the existing sanctuary, it will undergo a name change in 2012 and become the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.
There has been much interest in recent years in extending the protection provided by existing sanctuaries to adjacent or nearby areas. In 2009 the Davidson Seamount became the first seamount protected in the United States when it was included within the boundaries of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The addition of Davidson Seamount was recognized both nationally and internationally, as less than 0.1% of the world’s seamounts have been explored and relatively few protected. Similar extension efforts, requested by elected officials and community leaders, are underway in Thunder Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuaries.
Most people will never be able to visit Rose Atoll or Davidson Sea Mount, but most of the sanctuaries can and are visited by millions of people, including tourists. Tourism is hugely important to the U.S. economy (the total current-dollar travel related spending in the U.S. was estimated at $1.8 trillion in 2010). It is safe to assume that significant amount of that was related to coastal tourism and recreation. Sanctuaries and the communities that support them, be they small towns or large cities, depend on tourism as part of their local economies. Because of this importance, the President has recently issued a National Travel and Tourism Strategy.
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More about Rose Atoll
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