|OAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is committed to supporting lives and livelihoods across the nation and in sanctuary
communities through socioeconomic research to better understand the economic and social drivers of sanctuary resources and improve management practices.
As important spots for recreation like sport fishing,
diving, kayaking and surfing, sanctuaries support
tourism and can provide a foundation for economic
growth. At Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary,
for example, research has shown that more than
33,000 jobs in the Florida Keys are supported by
ocean recreation and tourism, accounting for 58
percent of the local economy and $2.3 billion in
annual sales. This highlighs the dependency of lives
and livelihoods in the Keys on a healthy, vibrant marine environment. In no other place in the nation are
lives so closely and critically tied to the ocean.
Through the construction and operation of visitor
centers, vessels and other facilities, sanctuaries also
directly create jobs and help sustain local economies.
In the three Michigan counties adjacent to Thunder
Bay National Marine Sanctuary, total visitor spending on recreation in 2006 was estimated at $110 million, including $36 million in income to residents
and 1,700 jobs. The town of Alpena has declared the
sanctuary and its visitor center an ideal "anchor" for
economic development, setting the tone for similar
partnerships across the nation.
Volunteers Contribute to Sanctuary Science, Resource Protection
Volunteers support the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries mission in countless ways,
donating tens of thousands of hours to the sanctuary system every year. Citizen science
is a critical and growing component of these efforts, with more than 15,000 volunteer
hours contributed in support of sanctuary science programs in 2010. Programs like the
Channel Islands Naturalist Corps empower community members and engage the public
in ocean science, in addition to providing valuable data that help marine scientists and
managers better understand sanctuary resources. Volunteers also help protect those
resources through efforts like shoreline cleanups. In Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, volunteers with the Team OCEAN program collected more than 10,000 pounds of
debris last year. Team OCEAN members also reached out to the local community, educating ocean users about responsible recreation and coral reefs through classroom trainings,
outreach to dive shops and marinas, and on-the-water interaction with boaters.
Film Festivals and Sanctuary Films bring the ocean to All
In 2010, national marine sanctuaries sponsored and supported a range of film
festivals and sanctuary-themed films to bring the ocean to a national audi-
ence. Nearly 9,000 people attended the BLUE Ocean Film Festival's debut
in Monterey, Calif., which featured more than 120 ocean films in addition to
live online broadcasts. At the Gray's Reef Ocean Film Festival in Savannah,
Ga., more than 40 free films were screened to over 4,000 attendees, while the
Seventh Annual San Francisco Ocean Film Festival featured short films made
by an international group of students who participated in the sanctuaries' 2009
Ocean For Life program. Last year also saw the release of three new films
highlighting Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale and Channel Islands national
marine sanctuaries and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Sanctuaries and Citizen Councils: Dynamic Partnerships
Sanctuary advisory councils are community-based advisory groups that
provide advice and recommendations to the 14 sites managed by the Office
of National Marine Sanctuaries. In 2010, 731 people with a wide range of
perspectives and experience were actively engaged in sanctuary advisory
councils and council working groups, collectively volunteering more than
13,000 hours as liaisons between their communities and the sanctuaries.
Councils are dynamic — continually evolving to respond to the critical issues
of the time. The recent addition of youth seats and youth working groups is
just one example of their adaptability. Councils are results-oriented — holding
ocean acidification workshops and studying vessel traffic and climate change
impacts on sanctuary ecosystems. Councils are collaborative — strengthening connections between the sanctuaries and the public and helping build
increased stewardship for sanctuary resources. Their hard work and passion
is invaluable in driving effective, community-based management throughout
the National Marine Sanctuary System.
Sanctuary Management Involves Tribal, State Authorities
At Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, tribal and state partners play
an important role in the sanctuary's management. To facilitate collaboration
between these diverse authorities, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
worked with the Hoh, Makah and Quileute tribes, the Quinault Indian Nation,
and the state of Washington in 2007 to create the Olympic Coast Intergovernmental Policy Council. The first of its kind in the nation, the council
provides a forum to develop recommendations for resource management
within the sanctuary and has enriched the sanctuary's understanding of critical marine issues. The council participated in the review of the sanctuary's
management plan in 2010, marking the first time an intergovernmental group
involving treaty tribes has been such an integral part of this review process.
The revised plan documents the sanctuary's treaty trust responsibility, as well
as highlighting the importance of working with the tribes. The council has also
become increasingly involved in broader national ocean management issues,
and worked last year on a planned indigenous climate change summit.