Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Socioeconomics

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary provides resources to support strong local economies and has economic value reaching far beyond the water.
open quote marksIn 2008 alone, tourists spent more than $125 million to travel and visit Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of my home state of Massachusetts.
end quote marks
- The Honorable
Ed Markey,
U.S. Representative, Massachusetts

  • Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is an area of concentrated commercial fishing effort in the Gulf of Maine. On average, approximately 300 commercial fishing boats operate in the sanctuary each year. A recent study1 estimated the annual total commercial landings value from the sanctuary to be between $15-23 million.

  • Recreational fishing by approximately 75 party and charter boats in the sanctuary results in direct sales value of about $2.5 million. In 2006, readers of Offshore magazine voted Stellwagen Bank the number three favorite recreational fishing spot in the northeast.

  • Virtually all of Massachusetts whale watching occurs in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, one of the top-ten premiere whale watching locations in the world, as identified by USA Today. A study2 completed in 2000 estimated that Massachusetts alone accounted for nearly 80 percent of New England whale watching tour totals in passengers and revenues, generating $24 million/year.

  • Five companies now offer excursions into the sanctuary for experienced divers, opening up a new ecotourism market for the region. The sanctuary has installed a dive mooring through funding from Project Aware at the site of an unidentified fishing trawler.

  • The sanctuary is a member of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Cod Canal Chamber of Commerce. Sanctuary literature and maps provide valuable assistance and information for thousands of tourists that visit the Cape Cod/Stellwagen Bank sanctuary region. Sanctuary supported exhibits enhance offerings at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, New England Aquarium, Halibut Point State Park and Cape Cod National Seashore.

1Ehler, R., 2011. Economic Impact Analysis of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Proposed Sanctuary Ecological Research Area. Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD.

2Hoagland, P. and A.E. Meeks. 2000. "The Demand for Whalewatching at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary." In: The Economic Contribution of Whalewatching to Regional Economies: Perspectives From Two National Marine Sanctuaries. Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series MSD-00-2. U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Marine Sanctuaries Division, Silver Spring, MD.

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