Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Socioeconomics

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects resources that have defined the regional economy and maintain coastal livelihoods.
open quote marksFor the four million annual visitors to Cannery Row, the health and beauty of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is priceless. We simply would not have the vibrant economy and visitor experience we currently enjoy were it not for a clean and accessible marine environment. The hotels, restaurants, shops, and other vendors along Cannery Row understand and appreciate this connection.
end quote marks
- Ted Balestreri
President and CEO Cannery Row Company Monterey, California

  • In 2013, the California Fish Harvester Model was used to estimate the economic impact of commercial fishing operations on a twelve-county area. According to the three-year average (measured in 2013 dollars, for years 2010-2012), 491 commercial fishing operations earned almost $26 million in harvest revenue from catch in the sanctuary. This revenue generated more than $42 million in total output/sales, nearly $29 million in value-added, almost $26 million in total income, and 843 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.

  • Travel and tourism is one of the most significant industries in the California Central Coast, with (a) total travel-spending revenue in 2003 of $5.9 billion ($7 billion adjusted for 2010 dollars) for the five counties adjacent to the sanctuary. Much of this tourism is focused on the coast and ocean protected by the sanctuary.

  • As part of the "Serengeti of the Sea," the sanctuary is internationally recognized for its wildlife viewing, with tons of thousands visiting annually for world class whale watching, scuba diving and film making.

  • Monterey Bay supports biological and oceanographic features that make it a critical zone for research. Approximately 25 marine science facilities associated with the sanctuary employed almost 2,000 people in 2004 with a combined budget of over $200 million.

  • The sanctuary's ecosystem also supports educational institutions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the ocean and coastal environments. In 2009, the aquarium hosted almost 2 million visitors and generated about $71 million in direct revenue.

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