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Sanctuaries Anchor Economic Development
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is committed to supporting lives and livelihoods across the nation and in sanctuary communities through socioeconomic research to better understand the economic and social drivers of sanctuary resources and improve management practices.

As important spots for recreation like sport fishing, diving, kayaking and surfing, sanctuaries support tourism and can provide a foundation for economic growth. At Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, for example, research has shown that more than 33,000 jobs in the Florida Keys are supported by ocean recreation and tourism, accounting for 58 percent of the local economy and $2.3 billion in annual sales. This highlighs the dependency of lives and livelihoods in the Keys on a healthy, vibrant marine environment. In no other place in the nation are lives so closely and critically tied to the ocean.

Through the construction and operation of visitor centers, vessels and other facilities, sanctuaries also directly create jobs and help sustain local economies. In the three Michigan counties adjacent to Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, total visitor spending on recreation in 2006 was estimated at $110 million, including $36 million in income to residents and 1,700 jobs. The town of Alpena has declared the sanctuary and its visitor center an ideal "anchor" for economic development, setting the tone for similar partnerships across the nation.

Sanctuaries are supported by a network of dedicated and diverse individuals and organizations working to protect our ocean treasures. Throughout the National Marine Sanctuary System, thousands of volunteers make wide-ranging science and education programs possible, community-based advisory groups provide expertise and input on critical issues, and non-profit partners help build support for effective ocean management.

Volunteers Contribute to Sanctuary Science, Resource Protection

volunteersVolunteers support the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries mission in countless ways, donating tens of thousands of hours to the sanctuary system every year. Citizen science is a critical and growing component of these efforts, with more than 15,000 volunteer hours contributed in support of sanctuary science programs in 2010. Programs like the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps empower community members and engage the public in ocean science, in addition to providing valuable data that help marine scientists and managers better understand sanctuary resources. Volunteers also help protect those resources through efforts like shoreline cleanups. In Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, volunteers with the Team OCEAN program collected more than 10,000 pounds of debris last year. Team OCEAN members also reached out to the local community, educating ocean users about responsible recreation and coral reefs through classroom trainings, outreach to dive shops and marinas, and on-the-water interaction with boaters.

Film Festivals and Sanctuary Films bring the ocean to All

In 2010, national marine sanctuaries sponsored and supported a range of film festivals and sanctuary-themed films to bring the ocean to a national audi- ence. Nearly 9,000 people attended the BLUE Ocean Film Festival's debut in Monterey, Calif., which featured more than 120 ocean films in addition to live online broadcasts. At the Gray's Reef Ocean Film Festival in Savannah, Ga., more than 40 free films were screened to over 4,000 attendees, while the Seventh Annual San Francisco Ocean Film Festival featured short films made by an international group of students who participated in the sanctuaries' 2009 Ocean For Life program. Last year also saw the release of three new films highlighting Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale and Channel Islands national marine sanctuaries and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Sanctuaries and Citizen Councils: Dynamic Partnerships

volunteers on the beachSanctuary advisory councils are community-based advisory groups that provide advice and recommendations to the 14 sites managed by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. In 2010, 731 people with a wide range of perspectives and experience were actively engaged in sanctuary advisory councils and council working groups, collectively volunteering more than 13,000 hours as liaisons between their communities and the sanctuaries. Councils are dynamic — continually evolving to respond to the critical issues of the time. The recent addition of youth seats and youth working groups is just one example of their adaptability. Councils are results-oriented — holding ocean acidification workshops and studying vessel traffic and climate change impacts on sanctuary ecosystems. Councils are collaborative — strengthening connections between the sanctuaries and the public and helping build increased stewardship for sanctuary resources. Their hard work and passion is invaluable in driving effective, community-based management throughout the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Sanctuary Management Involves Tribal, State Authorities

volunteers on the beachAt Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, tribal and state partners play an important role in the sanctuary's management. To facilitate collaboration between these diverse authorities, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries worked with the Hoh, Makah and Quileute tribes, the Quinault Indian Nation, and the state of Washington in 2007 to create the Olympic Coast Intergovernmental Policy Council. The first of its kind in the nation, the council provides a forum to develop recommendations for resource management within the sanctuary and has enriched the sanctuary's understanding of critical marine issues. The council participated in the review of the sanctuary's management plan in 2010, marking the first time an intergovernmental group involving treaty tribes has been such an integral part of this review process. The revised plan documents the sanctuary's treaty trust responsibility, as well as highlighting the importance of working with the tribes. The council has also become increasingly involved in broader national ocean management issues, and worked last year on a planned indigenous climate change summit.

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Revised September 12, 2023 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
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