Advisory Councils

Bringing together diverse community interests to strengthen the network of national marine sanctuaries

National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils

Site-focused, community-based councils advising National Marine Sanctuary System leadership

National marine sanctuary advisory councils are community-based advisory groups established to provide advice and recommendations to the superintendents of national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments across the system. Advisory council members provide input on issues including management, science, service, and stewardship. The more than 440 members, including alternates, represent a broad cross-section of the communities that lie adjacent to national marine sanctuaries and monuments. Council members also serve as liaisons between their constituents within the community and national marine sanctuary staff.

Depending on the sanctuary, members may represent interests such as conservation, education, research, fishing, whale watching, diving, boating, shipping, tourism, harbors and ports, maritime business, agriculture, and maritime heritage. Some sanctuary advisory councils include jurisdictional partners from local, regional, state, tribal, territorial, and federal agencies, as well as youth council seats.

Council members provide expertise about the local community and sanctuary resources, strengthen connections with the community, and help build stewardship for sanctuary resources. Council members are particularly critical in helping the sanctuary during the designation process for new sanctuaries and the management plan review process for established sites.

National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils