National Marine Sanctuaries
  40 Years of Sanctuaries - Top 40 Accomplishments 

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#27 1998
Lights, Camera, and (Underwater) Action:
Garnering National Attention for the First Time

In 1998, the sanctuary system surged to the forefront of public attention in the ocean arena with the Sustainable Seas Expedition and cover story in National Geographic. NOAA partnered with the National Geographic Society on a multi-million dollar, five-year ocean exploration and public education project called Sustainable Seas Expeditions. The expeditions used a single-person submersible called DeepWorker to explore and characterize the special ocean areas of the sanctuary system. Millions of people learned about sanctuaries and the ocean with the help of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle, and the tremendous news coverage that the Sustainable Seas Expedition garnered over the course of its five-year run.

Having National Geographic feature the system catapulted the reputation of what was then a $12M program to prominence among marine conservation leaders and helped kick off a substantial increase in attention and funding in ensuing years. The writing of Doug Chadwick, and the photographs of Flip Nicklin and David Doubilet, all world class in their own right, focused the nation’s attention on the resources and people that helped the sanctuary system become a force in ocean and Great Lakes conservation.

It's hard to take a bad photo in our sanctuaries, some of the most beautiful ocean places on earth. See for yourself, visit and share your favorites with friends and family to help them appreciate the wonder of our underwater treasures.


More information about the Sustainable Seas expeditions