Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Socioeconomics

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is a center of diverse economic activity and is an integral part of local coastal economies.
open quote marksThe research, outreach and education provided by the dedicated employees and volunteers of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary help to put our business on the map. [B]usinesses like ours reap direct and indirect economic benefits from the presence of Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary worth millions of dollars for our local economy.
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- Captain Alex Brodie
Fleet Manager, Island Packers Ventura, California

  • The Channel Islands support a relatively large and undisturbed natural setting that lies less than 150 miles from the homes of more than 17 million people in southern California. As such, they form the basis of various economic activities including private recreation, commercial tourism, commercial fishing and research. Commercial fishing and recreation-tourism alone generated an estimated $207 million (2011 dollars) in seven counties during 2002, supporting 3,300 jobs.

  • In 2013, the California Fish Harvester Model was used to estimate the economic impact of commercial fishing operations on a five-county area. According to the three-year average (measured in 2013 dollars, for years 2010-2012), 248 commercial fishing operations earned more than $27 million in harvest revenue from catch in the sanctuary. This revenue generated almost $45 million in total output/sales, nearly $31 million in value-added, almost $28 million in total income, and 659 full-time and part-time jobs. If wholesaling, processing, retail and restaurant sector impacts were included, past studies suggest the total impacts could be two to three times higher.

  • 365,000 person-days of recreational fishing in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary generated sales of almost $40 million in 1999, which supported 928 jobs in adjacent communities.

  • For-hire businesses provide opportunities to explore the scenic and productive waters of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. In 1999, eight operators provided more than 4,000 person-days of sailing in the sanctuary and four businesses accommodated more than 1,200 person-days of sanctuary kayaking/sightseeing. These operators received about $390,000 in revenue; when total passenger spending in the local economy is counted, this translates to approximately $1 million in spending, which supported 28 jobs.

  • Kelp beds and coral reefs make Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary an attractive diving location. In 1999, non-consumptive diving resulted in an estimated $685,000 in revenue.

  • Whale watching data from 1999 show the Channel Islands accounted for almost 26,000 person-days of related activity and about $1.5 million in revenue to local operators. When total passenger spending is counted in the local economy, approximately $4.3 million in spending was generated, which supported 119 jobs.

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