photo of red fish under coral reef

Social scientists focus on the understanding of how humans interact with natural and cultural resources and how they depend upon these resources for their lives and livelihoods.

Characterization attempts to answer the following questions:

  1. Who are the stakeholders?
    • Are they direct users of natural and/or cultural resources or are they passive users (people who value resource protection even though they don’t directly use the resources).

  2. Where do stakeholders reside (e.g. local area, state/region, nation or foreign visitors)?

  3. Socioeconomic/demographic profiles (e.g. gender, race/ethnicity, age, household size, household composition, education level, income, and disabilities).

  4. What activities are undertaken and the intensity of the activities to connect with natural and/or cultural resources (e.g. recreation-tourism, commercial fishing, treasure salvaging, and ship traffic)?

  5. How are different activities and intensity of activities connected to local, state, regional and national economies in terms of output/sales, income, employment, and tax revenues generated by activities using natural and/or cultural resources?

  6. What is the net economic value derived from direct use and passive use of the sanctuary’s natural and/or cultural resources?  This includes consumer’s surplus and a special component of producer’s surplus called economic rent.

  7. What are the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of different stakeholders on sanctuary management strategies and regulations?

  8. What are stakeholder’s perceptions of the conditions of the sanctuary’s natural and/or cultural resources?

  9. Socioeconomic/demographic profile of the geographic area that s most likely to be directly impacted by activities that either go on in a national marine sanctuary or that might be displaced from a national marine sanctuary (e.g. population, gender, age, race/ethnicity, income, education level, household size, household composition, poverty level, and income and employment by industry).